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New Electronic Visa System to be Required for Chinese Travelers

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New Electronic Visa System to be Required for Chinese Travelers

Beginning in early winter this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will launch a new program, the Electronic Visa Update System, or EVUS. This system will cater to Chinese nationals traveling on a People's Republic of China passport with a 10-year B visitor visa. These individuals will benefit from this automated system for updating basic biographic information and facilitating their travel to America. They will be required to complete an EVUS enrollment prior to traveling to the United States and enrollment will be valid for two years or until his or her passport expires.

Right now, there is nothing Chinese travelers need to do, but as November 2016 approaches, Chinese travelers will need to go online an update their information in order to comply with new EVUS regulations. FirstPathway Partners will update readers as more details are provided by the U.S. government, such as how to make entry into the United States as simple as possible.

The United States Customs and Border Protection provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the program.

Will EVUS enrollment be required for admittance into the United States?

Starting in November 2016, yes. The Governments of the United States and China entered into an arrangement on a reciprocal basis, to issue visitor visas with 10-year validity. The arrangement recognized that travelers would be required to periodically complete an online form updating their biographical information. Completing this form will help facilitate the admission of Chinese travelers into the United States.

Do other countries have this requirement?

This requirement is new. The U.S. Government expects that this requirement may be applied to additional countries in the future.

When will this new requirement take effect?

Travelers holding 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 visas will begin using the system in November 2016. Before that date, travelers holding 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 visas may travel to the United States without any further action. All other travelers with valid visas may travel to the United States as they do normally, regardless of the date.

Will this affect current visa holders, new applicants, or both?

Both. Applicants who are holding valid 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 visas issued before November 2016 will have to enroll in EVUS to use their visas any time after the launch of the program. Applicants who receive 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 visas from November 2016 onwards will have to enroll before their initial trip to the United States. Enrollment for all applicants will remain valid for two years or until the traveler’s visa or passport expire, whichever comes first. The visa holders will then have to update their information before traveling to the U.S. again.

I just received a 10-year B1/B2 visa a few months ago. Will I need to obtain a new visa after I enroll in EVUS?

No, your visa remains valid. However, you will be unable to travel to the United States after November 2016 unless you have also enrolled in EVUS.  Enrollment in EVUS is separate from the visa application process.

What is a B1, B2, or B1/B2 visa? How can I find out what visa type I have?

B category visas are visas for general business and tourist travel to the United States.  Your Visa Class, or category, appears in the upper right-hand portion of your visa.

 

Where will travelers be able to find more information about EVUS?

The most up to date information will be found on www.cbp.gov/EVUS.  Please monitor this website for the most current information.

Is there a fee to update information in the EVUS System?

There will be a nominal fee to enroll with EVUS. The fee will be used to cover the cost of running the system. Fee information will be available before EVUS enrollment begins.

Who will need to comply with EVUS requirements?

All nationals of The People’s Republic of China holding valid 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 visas who travel to the United States on a passport issued by the People’s Republic of China must comply with EVUS requirements beginning in November 2016.

How will this affect travelers from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau?

Anyone from these regions traveling on a Peoples Republic of China passport with a 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 visa will be required to enroll in EVUS.  Travelers using other travel documents, including Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan passports may continue to travel to the U.S. as they currently do.

How will this affect Chinese nationals living in Canada who for many years have qualified for 10-year visas as landed immigrants of Canada?

Anyone traveling on a Peoples Republic of China passport with a 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 visa will be required to enroll in EVUS, regardless of current residence. 

What information does a traveler need to comply with EVUS?

Each EVUS enrollment must contain the visa holder’s name, birth date, and passport information as well as other biographical and employment information. 

Will the EVUS website be translated?

Yes, the website will be available in both English and Mandarin Chinese. However, all 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 visa holders must answer the EVUS questions in English.

How often does the traveler have to update information in EVUS?

An information update is referred to as an enrollment.  Enrollments generally last for two years or when the traveler’s visa or passport expires, whichever comes first. Chinese holders of 10-year  B1/B2, B1 or B2 visas will need to update their information before they intend to travel to the United States (if a two-year enrollment has expired), or when they get a new passport.

Will the website be secure and private?

Yes. The website is operated by the U.S. government and employs technology to prevent unauthorized access to the information entered and viewed.  Information submitted by travelers through the EVUS website is subject to the same strict controls that have been established for similar traveler screening programs as governed by U.S. laws and regulations.   

What happens if a traveler doesn’t comply with EVUS requirements?

Travelers who carry a valid 10-year  B1/B2, B1 or B2 visa in a People’s Republic of China passport, but who have not complied with EVUS requirements may be delayed in their travel plans. 

Travel Planning

Are current visas still valid?

Yes, current B1/B2, B1 or B2 visas are still valid for travel to the United States. Travelers do not need to complete an online EVUS form before November 2016. EVUS registration is a separate process than applying for a visa. 

Do I need to complete a form or pay an additional fee today in order to travel to the United States?

No. Travelers do not need to complete an online EVUS form or pay a related fee before November 2016.