Mandatory Enrollment in Electronic Visa Update System for Chinese Travelers
The time to celebrate Chinese New Year is almost here. During this time of year, many Chinese nationals living in the United States travel back to China to celebrate this festive holiday. Alternatively, many Chinese nationals use this holiday to visit the United States. As these travelers make their plans for their overseas trip, they must take great care to ensure that their travel plans are not hindered or delayed. In particular, Chinese travelers visiting the United States must remember to enroll in the Electronic Visa Update System.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) is the online system used by nationals of China that hold a 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 (visitor) visa. This system is used to periodically update basic biographical information to facilitate travel to the United States. As of November 29, 2016, all individuals carrying a maximum validity (10-year) B1 or B2 visa in their Chinese passports must have a valid EVUS enrollment in order to travel to the United States. Travelers who are subject to EVUS requirements but do not have valid enrollments will not be able to obtain a boarding pass or enter through a land port of entry.
There is currently no fee required to enroll in the EVUS. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection anticipates an EVUS enrollment fee will eventually be implemented in the future. However, there is currently no time frame for when the fee will be imposed.
Enrollment in the EVUS is relatively simple. One must simply go to the website: https://www.evus.gov/evus/#/. Each EVUS enrollment will require the traveler to provide his or her name, birth date, emergency contact, passport information, biographical and employment information. Travelers will also answer questions related to travel eligibility. A friend, relative, travel industry professional, or another third party may submit an EVUS enrollment on a traveler’s behalf.
Although enrollment in the EVUS is simple, processing may take up to 72 hours. As such, we recommend that Chinese travelers enroll in the EVUS well in advance of their travel date. Some enrollments may be unsuccessful due to an administrative error, such as failure to provide complete information on the EVUS form. As such, the earlier the enrollment, the better. Expedited enrollments are not possible. U.S. Embassies and Consulates are not able to facilitate EVUS enrollments, provide details about EVUS enrollments, or resolve unsuccessful enrollments.
Planning an overseas trip can be very hectic. Travel plans can quickly sour if you are delayed at a Chinese airport while waiting to travel to the United States. In order to avoid unnecessary headaches, our law firm suggests that Chinese visitors planning a trip to the United States take care of this requirement as soon as possible.
Earvin Chionglo is a Partner at Nguyen and Chen LLP. He studied biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin and law at the University of Houston Law Center. He utilizes his vast knowledge to assist clients primarily in matters of immigration, corporate, and employment law. His immigration practice focuses on obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for corporate clients and professionals, conducting extensive I-9 audits, obtaining family-based visas for individuals, and representing clients in immigration court proceedings. Earvin’s corporate practice ranges from the creation of new business entities all the way to facilitating acquisitions of companies and entities. His employment practice involves counseling employers on employment agreements, company handbooks, confidentiality and non-compete agreements, compensation issues, and so forth.