If you are a foreign national traveling to Canada or the United States, please see below for new requirements and other reminders for a smoother travel experience.
New Requirements for Travel to Canada
Visa-exempt foreign nationals entering Canada now need an “Electronic Travel Authorization” (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travelers with a valid Canadian visa. Additionally, Canadian citizens (including dual citizens) and Canadian permanent residents do not need to apply for an eTA. To determine whether a visa or eTA is required for your travel to or transit through Canada, please visit the following website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp. Currently, the program is in a transition period. Until September 29, 2016, travelers can board a flight to Canada without an eTA, as long as they have appropriate travel documents such as a valid passport and they meet other requirements to enter Canada. After September 29th, eTA will be mandatory to travel to or transit through Canada.
New Requirements for Chinese Visitors to the U.S.
Beginning in November 2016, Chinese citizens who hold 10-year B-1 and/ or B-2 visitor visas for business or tourism will need to enroll in the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) to be admitted to the U.S. This applies to both current visa holders and any new B visas issued to Chinese citizens after November 2016. Enrollment will be valid for two (2) years or until the traveler’s visa or passport expires, whichever comes first. After the enrollment expires, the visa holder will have to re-enroll and update their information in EVUS prior to traveling to the U.S. As this is a new program, Customs & Border Protection recommends these visa holders continue to monitor the following website for information and updates: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/electronic-visa-update-system-evus/frequently-asked-questions.
Reminder for VWP Visitors to the U.S.
The U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits citizens of 38 countries to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. Visitors who may be eligible to travel to the U.S. under the VWP must file an online Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application to determine eligibility. In 2016, as a result of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, certain citizens of VWP countries are now ineligible for VWP and must apply for a visitor’s visa prior to travel to the U.S. Individuals who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen since March 1, 2011, or individuals who are dual-citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria, are ineligible for VWP program travel, with limited exceptions. The ESTA application now includes questions regarding these topics. Additionally, as of April 1, 2016, travelers must have an e-passport, an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip, to use VWP. Those ineligible for VWP travel must apply for a visa with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Reminder for All Travelers to the U.S.
All travelers entering the U.S. using VWP or a valid visa must always check their I-94 admission record immediately following entry. This electronic I-94 record confirms how long a foreign national is permitted to remain in the U.S. Overstaying the I-94 expiration date may have serious consequences, including a three (3) or ten (10) year bar from re-entering the U.S. Importantly, the I-94 admission period controls the period of admission regardless of the authorized period of stay awarded by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or as reflected on a visa stamp from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. I-94 records are now automated and may be found online on the Customs & Border Protection website: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/consent.html
. Errors by CBP are not uncommon and the burden is on the foreign national to timely resolve such issues.
This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.