ALERT: Recent News from DOS, INS, DOJ, and Treasury
Department of State: DOS is now requiring all male nonimmigrant visa applicants between the ages of 16 and 45, regardless of nationality and regardless of where they apply, to submit Form DS-157 in addition to the usual Form DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application. Posts may also require women to submit the form at their discretion. ∙ Jerusalem is the first post to require all applicants age 16 to 45, regardless of gender, to submit form DS-157 in addition to form DS-156. ∙ DOS reports that the Visa Office is now completing visa issuance for the visa revalidation requests received in December and hopes to complete these by the end of February. The Visa Office hopes to be “back on track” by mid-March, meaning the average time frame for visa revalidations should be less than four weeks from the date of filing. ∙ U.S. Embassy Paris issued a statement stressing that its Consular section maintains its own Rate of Exchange (currently EUR 1.20/USD) which should be used for all consular fees. This rate is set for all U.S. Consular Sections in the twelve euro currency countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and France). Department of Justice: In the wake of Argentina’s recent economic uncertainty, the Department of Justice in consultation with the DOS has officially terminated Argentina’s participation in the Visa Waiver Program. The Visa Waiver Program permits nationals from designated countries to apply for admission to the U.S. for 90 days or less as nonimmigrant visitors for business or pleasure without first obtaining a visa from a U.S. consular office abroad. As such, Argentine nationals traveling to the U.S. for business or pleasure must now obtain a B-1/B-2 nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy prior to their arrival in the U.S. With the removal of Argentina, the following 28 countries remain in the Visa Waiver Program: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, and Uruguay. Treasury Department: The Treasury Department has implemented a 1999 law (PL-105-277) prohibiting the transfer to and possession of firearms and ammunition by nonimmigrant aliens in the U.S. In addition, nonimmigrants bringing such items to the U.S. for hunting or sporting purposes must now obtain an import permit. Immigration and Naturalization Service: On January 16, 2002, the President signed into law two new bills that will allow the spouses of E-1, E-2 and L-1 visa holders to apply for Employment Authorization Cards (EAD cards) permitting them to work in the U.S. The INS Texas Service Center and Vermont Service Center are now accepting such EAD applications even though the regulations implementing this law are not yet promulgated. The Texas Service Center has indicated that it will act on the applications in the order received once regulations are in place. ∙ Please remember that the new INS fee increases became effective February 19, 2002. Should you have any questions concerning the above or any other employment-based immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact one of the authors listed at the top of the page.
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