The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a final rule, that beginning on November 29, 2016, requiring all nationals of the People’s Republic of China holding a valid 10-year B1/B2, B-1 or B-2 visa to enroll in the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS).
The B visa category is generally available for business and tourist related visits to the U.S. In November 2014, the U.S. and Chinese governments entered into a reciprocal arrangement to issue 10-year visitor and business travel visas with multiple entries, instead of the typical 6-month issuance. Given the longer visa validity period, EVUS is designed to allow travelers to provide the most current information prior to entry into the U.S. in order to better facilitate the admission process.
EVUS involves an online enrollment application which requires inputting data such as the visa holder’s name, address, passport information, travel plans, employment and other biographic information. An applicant will need to update the information every two years, or when their passport expires, whichever is earlier. The link to begin an EVUS application can be found at: www.evus.gov. There is an enrollment fee of $8.
For those holding the 10-year B1/B2, B-1 or B-2 visas issued prior to November 29, 2016, enrollment in EVUS must occur prior to December 14, 2016 (unless the travel date is earlier), in order to continue utilizing the visas. For those who receive such visas after November 29, 2016, they will need to enroll in EVUS prior to travelling to the U.S. for the first time.
Travelers who are subject to EVUS may not be able to obtain a boarding pass or enter the U.S. via a land port of entry without proof of valid enrollment. The final rule also provides for automatic provisional revocation of the visas for failure to comply with EVUS requirements and automatic reversal of the revocation upon compliance.
DHS and DOS anticipate that the EVUS requirements will eventually be expanded to other countries and visa categories. The Immigration team at Barclay Damon LLP will continue to monitor the EVUS program and provide updated information once it becomes available.