On November 29, 2016, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection implemented a requirement for all Chinese passport holders who carry a maximum validity (10 year) B1 (business) and/or B2 (pleasure) visa to have a valid Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) enrollment before traveling to the United States. Travelers using passports from Hong Kong, Macau SAR, Taiwan, or any other passport other than a Peoples Republic or China passport are not affected by the EVUS enrollment requirement.
The Electronic Visa Update System is the online enrollment system by which Chinese nationals holding B 1 and/or B 2 visas valid for 10 years update basic biographic information, enabling their travel to the United States. Since the implementation of the EVUS requirement, nationals of China holding such 10-years visas will not be allowed to travel to the United Stated without valid EVUS enrollment.
Earlier this year on October 20, 2016, the following rules and notices were published in the Federal Register, setting the general regulatory framework for EVUS and designating the first group that will be subject to the requirements.
· A Department of Homeland Security final rule to establish EVUS registration requirements
· A similar Department of State final rule provided for automatic provisional revocation of visas for failure to comply with EVUS requirements
· And finally, a Customs and Border Protection notice designated Chinese citizen travelers possessing 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 visas in a Peoples Republic of China passport as the first group subject to the new EVUS requirements
Enrollment in the Electronic Visa Update System is an outcome of the 2014 reciprocal agreement between the United States and Chinese governments to issue visitor visas with 10-year validity. This arrangement recognized that travelers would be required to periodically complete an online form updating their biographical information. Although the registration into the system is only extended to Chinese nationals possessing B1 and/or B2 visas, other nationalities or visa types may be added to the EVUS program in the future, through a notice in the Federal Register.
Submitting an EVUS enrollment can be done online at EVUS.gov. Typically, responses are issued within minutes of a traveler’s submission, although some are known to take up to 72 hours to process. Enrollments are usually valid for two years or until the traveler obtains a new visa or passport. Registration may be submitted either by the visa holder him or herself or any other third party. A third party may also pay related fees on behalf of the traveler. However, the visa holder is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all information submitted on his or her behalf.
For more information about the new Electronic Visa Update System registration requirement for Chinese holders of 10-year B visas, especially as such requirement factors continue to develop and quite possibly extend to other nationalities and/or visa types, visit CBP’s website at www.cbp.gov/EVUS.