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EIG Week in Review (June 13, 2014)

June 23, 2014

Highlights

  • 2014 FIFA World Cup Causing Brazilian Visa Processing Delays
  • U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson Announces DACA Renewal Process
  • South Korea Implements New Requirements for Visa Extensions and Increases Fees
  • U.S. State Department Issues Travel Advisory for Djibouti 
  • New Program Allows for 24-Hour Expedited Processing and Reduced Rates for Vietnamese Visas

2014 FIFA World Cup Causing Brazilian Visa Processing Delays

Brazil, who is hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer, will welcome many foreign nationals in June and July; thus, there is an increasing volume of visa requests, which is expected to delay visa processing procedures.  Accordingly, foreign nationals planning to travel to Brazil in the near future should apply for a visa well in advance of their intended departure date.  Applicants who have traveled to certain destinations within 90 days prior to entering Brazil may also be required to provide a Yellow Fever Vaccination, which could add additional delays to the process.

On a more positive note, in an effort to mitigate frustrations with extended processing times and encourage attendance at the World Cup, the Brazilian Consulate has created a new visa category known as the “FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 – Spectator Visa.”  The Spectator visa is available for those foreign nationals who can provide confirmation of the purchase of a ticket to a World Cup match.  There are no government fees associated with the Spectator Visa.  Prospective World Cup spectators should be advised that all visa applications must be made in person or by a third-party agency, by appointment only, at the Brazilian Consulate of their jurisdiction.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson Announces DACA Renewal Process

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson recently announced the process for individuals to renew enrollment in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which defers removal action against undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has submitted to the federal register an updated form to allow individuals previously enrolled in DACA to renew their deferral for a period of two years.  Effective immediately, USCIS will begin accepting renewal requests, at the direction of the Secretary. USCIS will also continue to accept DACA requests from individuals who have not previously applied to the program.

Individuals in DACA may remain in the United States and apply for employment authorization for a period of two years.  Individuals who have not previously requested DACA, but otherwise meet the requisite criteria, may also request deferral for the first time.  However, individuals who have not continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 are ineligible for DACA.

Applicants seeking DACA renewal must meet the following criteria:

  • Did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012, without advance parole;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since they submitted their most recent DACA request that was approved; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

To begin the renewal process, applicants must complete the new version of Form I-821D “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” Form I-765 “Application for Employment Authorization,” and the I-765 Worksheet. There is also a filing and biometrics (fingerprints and photo) fee associated with Form I-765, totaling $465. As with an initial request, USCIS will conduct a background check when processing DACA renewals.

The first DACA approvals will begin to expire in September 2014. To avoid a lapse in the period of deferral and employment authorization, individuals must file renewal requests before the expiration of their current DACA validity period.  USCIS encourages applicants to submit their renewal request approximately 120 days (four months) before their current period of deferred action expires.

South Korea Implements New Requirements for Visa Extensions and Increases Fees

Applicants applying for a South Korean Alien Registration Card or seeking an extension of a current visa or Alien Registration Card are now required to provide proof of residency.  Proof of residency can be evidenced by providing any of the following documents:

  • Copy of lease contract or utility bill that is in the name of the applicant (if the contract or bill is in the name of the employer, applicants should include a confirmation letter from the employer verifying employment and residency)
  • Government letter, attesting to the visa expiration date
  • Utility bill
  • Receipt of university accommodation fee (for student visas only)

This new requirement, however, is not expected to affect current processing times.

Additionally, fees for the majority of immigration-related applications, including all South Korean visas, Alien Registration Cards, and Residence Registration cards, have doubled since the beginning of this year.  This is the first significant increase in South Korean immigration fees since 1998.

An official list of fees issued by the South Korean Government can be seen here.

U.S. State Department Issues Travel Advisory for Djibouti

Following the suicide bomb attack on a Westerner-favored restaurant at the end of May 2014, the U.S. State Department has received new information regarding emerging threats directed at U.S. nationals in the region.

U.S. Embassy personnel have been barred from Menelik Square in the center of Addis Adaba and any large gathering in public places, such as shopping areas, hotels, clubs/bars, restaurants, bus stations, and places of worship. U.S. citizens are asked to abide by the same procedures to prevent attack, kidnapping, and proximity to potential blasts.

Corporate visitors to Djibouti, in particular, should be extremely cautious, as the prospective targets are believed to include Embassies, government buildings, and commercial entities.  Thus, employers should be mindful of the above warnings when scheduling business travel or coordinating international assignments to the Djibouti region.

New Program Allows for 24-Hour Expedited Processing and Reduced Rates for Vietnamese Visas

Visa-Vietnam.org, the nation’s leading visa agency, recently announced its offer of a 26% discount on its corporate online visa program for travelers to Vietnam.  The program is designed for commercial entities and universities organizing trips to the Vietnam region in an effort to provide lower-priced and expedited visa processing.

Interested parties must first file a Corporate Request, via email to info@visa-vietnam.org, identifying details of the applicant and his or her corresponding company/organization.  Once verified, Visa-Vietnam.org will provide a promotional code to be used by corporate members.

Company representatives have emphasized that the Vietnam “Visa on Arrival” process is the most convenient and fastest online visa process, as it allows for visa approval within 24 hours.  In order to apply, travelers need only complete a short online application form and pay the application fee.  After payment is made, Visa-Vietnam.org sends the visa application to the Vietnam Embassy office to seek approval.  Once approved, the applicant will receive an electronic approval letter via email, which should be presented at the Vietnam international airport.

More information about Visa-Vietnam.org and its services can be found on its website at http://www.visa-vietnam.org/.