Mithras Law Group Immigration Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘VWP

Additional 30 days for Japanese and Foreign nationals from Pacific stranded in US

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The USCIS has issued an advisory for Japanese and other foreign nationals from the Pacific stranded in the United States due to the earthquakes and tsunami devastation in the Pacific.  If you have exceeded or are about to exceed your authorized stay in the U.S. you may be permitted up to an additional 30 days to depart. Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP): If you are at an airport, contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office at the airport.  All others, please visit the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Visitors traveling under a non-immigrant visa: Visit the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office.   Bring your passport, evidence that you are stranded (such as an itinerary for the cancelled flight), and your I-94 departure record.

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Written by MithrasLaw

April 1, 2011 at 10:13 am

Two Recent Changes in US Immigration Law

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 Two major changes  that have taken place in January 2009 with respect to non-US citizens and International Tourists from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Countries arriving to or departing from the United States are:

(1) International visitors from VWP countries like United Kingdom now require to obtain a “pre-clearance” prior to initiating travel to the United States; and

(2) Expansion of the US-Visit program, which requires all non-US Citizens to provide biometrics upon arrival in, or departure from, the United States at air or sea ports of entry.  

For more details,  see our attorney, Hanishi Ali’s article published here: http://www.lokvani.com/lokvani/article.php?article_id=5499

US Immigration Requires all International Visitors from the Visa Waiver Program Countries to Pre-register Online at Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) from January 12th 2009

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Begining tomorrow, January 12th, 2009, all nationals and citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries who plan to travel to the U.S. for temporary business or pleasure for 90 days or less under the VWP will be required by law to obtain an online travel authorization prior to initiating travel to the United States under the VWP.  For a list of the over 30 VWP countries see our earlier post.

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an online system used to determine eligibility for visitors intending to travel to the United States under the VWP. It requires the same information as the I-94W form that VWP visitors fill out en route to the US.  Typically, the traveler must provide biographical data including name, birth date, and passport information, as well as answers to questions regarding eligibility to travel under the VWP.

The authorization is to be obtained online through the ESTA, which is a free Internet application available in 16 languages and administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The automated system is now accessibile online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov.

The electronic travel authorization is being implemented to enhance the security of the VWP and to assess whether such travel poses a law enforcement or security risk.

Airlines and border control officials are concerned that many passengers are not aware of the new United States immigration requirements for VWP countries and this could lead to chaos at the airports.  US Customs and Border Protection also confirmed that while there are more than four million visits to the United States each year, just over 240,000 have filled out the online Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) which replaces United States’ green visa waiver entry form. 

Kelly Klundt of the US Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Public Affairs has said that The Department of Homeland Security will take a reasonable approach to those travelers not in compliance with the travel authorisation requirement, but, travelers who do not obtain an ESTA should be aware that they may be refused boarding, or experience delayed processing, or be denied admission upon arrival in the United States.

Written by MithrasLaw

January 12, 2009 at 1:28 am

Seven new countries are to be admitted to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

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President Bush announced that the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea — have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program, bringing the total to 34 countries that have been accorded this special privilege of visa-free entry to the United States. The citizens of the above mentioned countries, in a month’s time, will be eligible to travel to the United States on business or tourism for 90 days or less without requiring a US visa.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea have agreed to share information about threats to the United States and also agreed that their citizens will have to register online ahead of their visits for screening purposes as well as obtain tamper-proof biometric passports (or E-passport) in order to travel to the United States.

Other countries, including Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Poland and Romania, are on the “visa waiver road map” that is helping them qualify for the VWP.

The Visa Waiver Participating countries are:

 

Andorra

Iceland

Norway

Australia

Ireland

Portugal

Austria

Italy

San Marino

Belgium

Japan

Singapore

Brunei

Liechtenstein

Slovenia

Denmark

Luxembourg

Spain

Finland

Monaco

Sweden

France

the Netherlands

Switzerland

Germany

New Zealand

United Kingdom

 

For a VWP Traveler’s Guide by the Department of Homeland Security that outlines important changes in passport and e-passport requirements see:

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/travel/id_visa/business_pleasure/vwp/vwp_timeline.ctt/vwp_timeline.pdf

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