The US and Chinese governments came to an agreement in 2016 to introduce a new system to measure and control the influx of business travelers and tourists to the US, using either B1, B2 or the combined B1/B2 visa: the visas corresponding to temporary travel for business or pleasure.
The name given to this system is EVUS, Electronic Visa Update System, commonly known as EVUS visa and it came into effect as a compulsory step before traveling to the US on November 29th, 2016.
At the moment only foreign nationals from China holding a valid Chinese passport and a full 10-year B1, B2 or combined B1/B2 visa are required to complete an EVUS application. Travelers who meet these requirements will not be permitted to board a flight to the US without producing a valid EVUS visa. It is essential that all eligible travelers enroll with EVUS before departing for the US and it is recommendable to do so at least 72 hours before departure. Although the result is usually immediate it can take up to 3 days therefore don’t leave it to the last minute as it may disrupt travel plans.
It is possible that in the future, the US government will expand the program to enable citizens from other countries to update their B1 or B2 visas in this manner. But for the time being it only applies to those Chinese citizens visiting the US with B1, B2 or B1-B2 visas for short-term business or pleasure. The EVUS itself is not a complete visa, but a visa update meaning it must be accompanied by a full 10-year entry visa. It is a legal requirement to have both the EVUS and the visa before traveling to the USA.
The EVUS visa for USA must correspond to the passport used to travel. If either the B1, B2 or combined B1/B2 visa or the passport is expired, you will need to apply for a new visa and in turn a new EVUS! All the information supplied must be accurate and current or you may be denied entry.
The EVUS application process takes roughly 20 minutes and requires, in addition to the passport and visa information, details of the trip to the US and personal data of the applicant. Also, basic questions relating to security may be asked.
It can be confusing when traveling to ensure you get the right visa but don’t worry, here we explain the differences between ESTA visa and EVUS visa:
As we’ve said, the EVUS is not really a visa but an updating system for Chinese citizens who already hold a valid 10-year visa for travel to USA. ESTA, on the other hand, is a travel authorization for citizens of 39 countries who belong to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) who must obtain permission to travel to the US.
Travelers who are eligible for the ESTA do not need to update their information via the EVUS nor do they need to apply for a visa, only the ESTA visa waiver. Once granted, the ESTA is valid for two years and at the end of this period if the traveler wishes to return to the US, he or she will need to reapply for a new ESTA or also if their passport or any information has changed.
The ESTA program also has a fee which must be paid online via credit or debit card whereas at this time, the EVUS visa is free of charge.
Then there’s more acronyms to lead you astray, but don’t be fooled; here we explain the differences between ETIAS visa and EVUS visa:
ETIAS stands for Electronic Travel Information and Authorization System which is currently being designed by the EU as a european version of the ESTA. It will be available from 2020 for citizens of more than 60 eligible countries.
The ETIAS is also not technically a visa but a visa-waiver for those travelers who do not need to apply for a visa to enter Europe. ETIAS holders will be permitted to enter and travel within the european Schengen zone without the need for individual country visas.
The validity, unlike the EVUS visa, will be for a maximum of 5 years and permits multiple entries within this time. It also requires a prior payment of 5€ (tbc) by credit or debit card and a short application process online which will then determine the applicant’s eligibility to travel to Europe.
Although travelers can get a little lost when it comes to visas for traveling to US, Europe or other countries, we hope this guide helps make the paperwork slightly less tedious.
If you want more information about ETIAS, visit the website www.etiasvisa.com