US Immigration Update – Holiday Travel Alert

November 17, 2017 All, USA
77

 

US Immigration Update – Holiday Travel Alert

With increased travel to and from the United States over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, it is important that travellers seeking to enter the country are properly prepared. Travellers should…

With increased travel to and from the United States over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, it is important that travellers seeking to enter the country are properly prepared. Travellers should expect airports, consulates, and ports of entry to be extremely busy due to a surge in travel, higher number of visa applications, increased security measures, and the enhanced vetting implemented by the Trump Administration.

Reminders:

Passports: All travellers, including US and Canadian citizens, should confirm the validity of their passports and those of their family. Passports should be valid for at least six months after the time of entry into the United States.

Travelling under the Visa Waiver Program: Those travellers eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must still apply for an Electronic System of Travel Authorisation (ESTA) approval before traveling. Once approved, the ESTA is usually valid for up to two years – but a new approval is required for certain changes that occur during the validity period (e.g., obtaining a new passport, changes in name, or country of citizenship, or answers to any of the VWP eligibility questions).

Port of Entry Documentation and U.S. Status: Some travellers entering the US may be required to show evidence of work authorisation in addition to a valid visa. Depending on the visa type, examples of additional required documentation may be an original I-797 Approval Notice, an endorsed I-129S, or an employment authorisation document (EAD) card.

For each entry, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) should create an electronic I-94 record and stamp the traveller’s passport, annotating it with the class and duration of admission. Before the traveller exits the CBP inspection area, each passport should be checked to ensure that the admission classification and expiration date are correct. If there is an error, CBP should immediately be informed. The traveller’s electronic I-94 record created should also be checked after each entry.

Plan Ahead for Visa Issuance: The holiday period is a busy time at US consulates due to increased applications at the end of the year, holiday closures, and vacations by consular staff. As such, it is important to plan your visa application so there is sufficient time to schedule the interview, complete required documentation, and allow time for processing and issuance of the visa. With that in mind, travellers should refer to their local US Consulate website for information and timelines for booking visa appointments.

 

Please noteThe current US Administration has implemented tougher screening measures for visa applications as well as entry into the United States. This includes a wide range of changes, from an increased focus on checking applicants’ social media accounts to executive orders limiting entry into the US. Due to the uncertain and rapidly changing situation, it is advisable to speak to an immigration professional at Ferguson Snell before preparing for a visa application and interview.

 

FSA -US immigration update – holiday

If you would like further information on any part of this newsletter, please contact your dedicated Immigration Consultant via email on comms@fergusonsnell.co.uk or call us on +44 (0) 20 3668 2700.