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EIG Week in Review (June 6, 2014)

June 23, 2014

Highlights

  • Nonimmigrants Visa Processing For Third Country Nationals Suspended Throughout Canada This Summer
  • South Africa’s New Immigration Laws Aim at Protection of Both Locals and Foreigners
  • U.S. Department of State Thailand Travel Alert

Nonimmigrant Visa Processing For Third Country Nationals Suspended Throughout Canada This Summer

All U.S. consular posts throughout Canada will be extremely limited in their ability to process Third Country Nationals (TCNs) visa applications during the summer, which is the peak demand period. Consequently, Canadian posts encourage such applicants to schedule their visa appointments at other Embassies and Consulates worldwide, such as the applicant’s home country. TCNs who face emergencies may still seek consideration for scheduling an interview at the U.S. consular posts in Canada by visiting canada.usembassy.gov. During non-peak period, such as October and November, and January through May, Canadian posts will have increased appointments available for TCNs.

Foreign national employees traveling internationally this summer should keep the above changes in mind and plan their travels accordingly.

South Africa’s New Immigration Laws Aim At Protection Of Both Locals and Foreigners

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba addressed the members of the media earlier this week, announcing that South Africa will be putting greater focus on its immigration laws by implementing digital and automated systems, enforcing more stringent requirements, and building more visa facilitation centers throughout the country.  Gigaba noted that foreign nationals will now need to submit biometric information, and present themselves in person in order to receive a visa or permit to enter the country.  Additionally, Gigaba mentioned that a new system has been implemented to verify travelers in advance, and that children will now be required to travel with passports and “unabridged birth certificates.”

With regards to the opening of new visa facilitation centers, Gigaba stressed the need to “manage immigration effectively and securely in the best interest of the nation.”  The Department of Home Affairs appointed a private service provider to manage visa and permit applications, automate the application process, develop a solution for biometric intake, manage call centers and otherwise help facilitate the movement of people in and out of South Africa.  Gigaba commented that this departure from the current system of manual application processes is aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing turn-around times in the visa adjudication process.

U.S. Department of State Thailand Travel Alert

On May 28, 2014, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released an alert, recommending that U.S. citizens planning any non-essential travel to Thailand reconsider their travels due to ongoing political and social unrest, restrictions on internal movement and indefinite nighttime curfews throughout Thailand.  As a result of the present seizure of the Thai administration by the Royal Thai Army, DOS warns U.S. citizens that they may encounter heightened military presence throughout the country, particularly Bangkok, disruptions to traffic, and other forms of unrest.  While authorities have reported that nighttime curfew does not apply to those traveling to or from airports, travelers in Thailand should be ready to present their passports and airline tickets to authorities upon request.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok continues to be open for all routine American Citizen Services by appointment – U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance do not need an appointment.