CBP to Launch Electronic Visa Update System for Nonimmigrants; Chinese Nationals Holding 10-Year Visitor Visas Are the First Group Affected

Executive Summary
The forthcoming Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) will require specific categories of nonimmigrant visa holders to update their biographic information before traveling to the United States. Chinese nationals holding a 10-year B-1/B-2, B-1 or B-2 visa will be the first group required to enroll before business or tourist travel to the United States on or after November 29.  EVUS is not yet operational, but early enrollment is anticipated to begin later this month.

Designated classes of nonimmigrant visa holders will soon be required to enroll in the new Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS)  before traveling to the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced. Foreign nationals traveling on a passport issued by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and a U.S. B-1/B-2, B-1 or B-2 visitor visa valid for 10 years will be the first group required to register for travel that takes place on or after November 29, 2016.

EVUS is not yet in operation, but CBP expects to begin early enrollment later this month.  When the system is operational, affected Chinese travelers will need to enroll in the system, pay an $8 fee and update their biographic information in order to enter the United States for business or tourism. Enrollment remains valid for two years, or until the traveler’s passport or visa expires, whichever occurs first. Those who fail to enroll in EVUS will not be issued an airline boarding pass or admitted at a U.S. land border, and could have their visa revoked.

In the initial phase of EVUS, only those traveling on a PRC passport with a 10-year B-1/B-2, B-1 or B-2 visa will be required to enroll.  Those with a Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR or Taiwan passport are not affected by the new requirement.  However, a forthcoming Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation is expected to give the agency the authority to require additional classes of nonimmigrants to register in the system before travel to the United States.

What the EVUS Requirement Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Though no action is required now, Chinese nationals planning travel to the United States for business or tourism on or after November 29, 2016 must be prepared to register in EVUS when the new requirement takes effect.  Those who currently hold a 10-year U.S. visitor visa must register in EVUS in order to travel to the United States on or after November 29.  Those issued a 10-year visitor visa on November 29 or later must register in EVUS before their first trip to the United States on that visa.

Fragomen is closely monitoring the rollout of EVUS and will issue updates as developments occur.  This alert is for informational purposes only.  If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.

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