B-1/B-2 Visitors

DHS Announces Visa Sanctions on Four Countries

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on September 13, 2017 that visa sanctions would be imposed on Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone due to lack of cooperation in accepting their nationals ordered removed from the United States. Some of the specific visa sanctions announced were:

CBP announces Electronic Visa Update System details

News Release from Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC From November 29, 2016, all People’s Republic of China (PRC) passport holders carrying a 10-year visa will be required to have a valid Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) enrollment when traveling to the United States.

EVUS is the online system used by nationals of the PRC holding a 10-year B1/B2, B1, or B2 visa. Visitors update their basic biographic information on EVUS to facilitate their travel to the United States.

U.S. Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) recommends that travelers enroll in EVUS as early as possible, or at least 72 hours before they are scheduled to leave for the United States. The fee to enroll is $8, and enrollments are valid for two years or until the traveler obtains a new passport or visa, whichever comes first.

If PRC travelers do not update their information at least every two years, or upon obtaining a new passports after EVUS becomes effective, they will not be able to use their 10-year visas. For more information, see the full announcement on the CBP website.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2016

Visa Waiver Program eligibility changes

The 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law on December 18, 2015.  In addition to funding the U.S. federal government through the 2016 fiscal year, it includes far-reaching, immediately effective changes to the Visa Waiver Program.  As background, citizens of the 38 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”) may come to the United States as visitors for business or pleasure without first obtaining visitors’ (B-1 or B-2) visas in their passports.  They may visit the U.S. for periods of up to 90 days, provided that they are eligible for admission as visitors under applicable law.

Citizens of Chile eligible for Visa Waiver Program from May 1

News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC

Citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) may come to the United States as visitors for business or pleasure without first obtaining visitors’ (B-1 or B-2) visas from U.S. Consulates. They may visit for periods of up to 90 days, provided that they are eligible for admission under applicable law.

On February 28 the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the designation of Chile in the VWP. Eligible Chilean passport holders with ESTA clearance will be able to visit the U.S. without visas from May 1, 2014. There now are 38 VWP countries:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.

Like other VWP travelers, eligible Chilean passport holders must apply for advance authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). VWP travelers are not permitted to board a carrier to travel to the U.S. by air or sea unless they have ESTA clearance.

© Jewell & Associates, PC 2014

Implications of the Infosys settlement for B-1 visas

What can employers learn from Infosys’ recent settlement with federal prosecutors? Ultimately, the more conservatively one follows the immigration law, the more limited one’s interest may be. The government alleged that Infosys misused B-1 visitor visas – inexpensive, for short term stays, and for a narrowly-defined range of commercial activities – to bring foreign workers to the United States to perform skilled labor, for long periods of time, that should have required H-1B visas. It alleged that Infosys submitted false statements to deceive U.S. consular officials into granting B-1 visas to workers, and Customs and Border Protection officers into granting them entry to the United States. This included letters stating the purpose of travel as “meetings” when the true purpose was activities not authorized under a B-1 visa. The government also alleged that Infosys directed the workers themselves to take part in the deception. Infosys did not admit to the allegations of fraud and misfeasance, but agreed to a fine of $34 million.

Citizens of Taiwan eligible for Visa Waiver Program from November 1

News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC

Citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) may come to the United States as visitors for business or pleasure without first obtaining visitors’ (B-1 or B-2) visas from U.S. Consulates. They may visit for periods of up to 90 days, provided that they are eligible for admission under applicable law.

Yesterday the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the designation of Taiwan in the VWP. Eligible Taiwan passport holders with ESTA clearance will be able to visit the U.S. without visas from November 1, 2012. There now are 37 VWP countries:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.

Like other VWP travelers, eligible Taiwan passport holders must apply for advance authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). VWP travelers are not permitted to board a carrier to travel to the U.S. by air or sea unless they have ESTA clearance.

© Jewell & Associates, PC 2012

Citizens of Greece eligible for Visa Waiver Program

News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC - March 31, 2010 Citizens and eligible nationals of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries may come to the U.S. as visitors for business or pleasure without first getting visitors’ (B-1 and/or B-2) visas in their passports from U.S. Consulates outside the U.S.  Provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, they may visit the U.S. for periods of up to 90 days. On March 4, 2010, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, designated Greece as a country that is eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. There now are 36 VWP countries (including the new addition, Greece):

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Remember that, as of January 12, 2009, travelers using the VWP must obtain approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel.  VWP travelers are not permitted to board a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. unless they have been cleared through ESTA.  Complete information on ESTA is available at www.cbp.gov/esta.

© Jewell & Associates, PC 2010