Thank you for your EVUS questions. For those of you not aware, EVUS stands for the Electronic Visa Update System, a new system developed by our colleagues at the Department of Homeland Security. Beginning in November 2016, all Chinese citizens who hold B1, B2 or B1/B2 visas will also need to enroll in EVUS before travelling to the United States. Since we began issuing ten year visas to Chinese citizens, we have seen a large increase in applications, and I expect we will continue to see millions of Chinese citizens travel to the United States. We are very happy that the ten-year visa is here to stay!
Providing updated information in EVUS will help facilitate entry into the United States for visa holders. Anyone entering the United States will need both a visa and a valid EVUS enrollment if they have a ten-year visa. Please note that travelers to the U.S. will only need to enroll in EVUS every two years.
The process to enroll in EVUS is designed to be as easy to use as possible. It is an on-line system. There is no need to go to a bank. There is no need to go to a travel agent. There is no need to come to the Embassy. You may enroll in EVUS as soon as you have your visa. While the enrollment process should be very fast, we recommend enrolling at least one week before your travel.
You may enroll in EVUS anywhere you have internet access. You will be able to enroll using your computer, your laptop, or your smartphone. It is easy enough to do yourself, but a friend or family member or other third part could also do it on your behalf.
Let’s walk through a few examples to see how the process will work.
· Xiao Wang is a twenty-year old Chinese student studying in the United States. She has a 5 year F-1 visa. She comes back to China this summer to visit her family and then return to university. Before travelling to the United States, she does not need to enroll in EVUS because EVUS is only for holders of ten year B visas.
· Xiao Wang’s mother plans to travel with her to the United States in to see where her daughter studies. Xiao Wang’s mother receives a ten year B1/B2 visa from the U.S. Embassy in July and travels with Xiao Wang to the United States in August. Even though she has a ten-year visa, she does not need to enroll in EVUS at this time. This system will not begin until November.
· Xiao Wang’s mother enjoyed her short trip to the United States and wants to bring her husband, Xiao Wang’s father, to see America in January 2017 during Spring Festival. Using her valid visa, her mother can enroll in EVUS starting in November and is required to enroll before travelling. She does not need another visa. Xiao Wang’s father receives a 10-year B1/B2 visa from the U.S. Embassy in December and can enroll in EVUS as soon as he receives his visa. He is required to enroll in EVUS before travelling to America.
· Xiao Wang is a great student and is graduating in the Spring of 2019. She wants her mother, father, and grandparents to attend the graduation ceremony. Her father has already has a valid 10-year visa and valid EVUS enrollment. All he has to do is buy a plane ticket and go to America because travelers only need to update their information in EVUS every two years (unless they get a new passport). Xiao Wang’s mother also has a valid visa and enrolled in EVUS less than two years ago. However, she got a new passport, so she needs to enroll in EVUS again. Xiao Wang’s grandparents have never travelled before so they need both a B2 visa and to be enrolledl in EVUS before travelling to America.
· EVUS enrollments last for two years. But, if Xiao Wang’s grandparents do not travel back to the United States for a long time, they will not need to enroll in EVUS again until just before they travel. Let’s say they travel on vacation in 2024. They will need to enroll again just before that trip.
I hope these examples of the hypothetical Wang family help answer your questions about how EVUS will work. For more information, please visit http://www.cbp.gov/evus. The latest information will be posted there. Thank you!