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EIG Dispatch | February 10, 2017

February 13, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Meets with European Union Commissioner
  • New Visa Validity Rules in South Africa
  • Schengen Visas Ineligible for Entry into Panama and Costa Rica
  • Immigration Categories Reorganized in Peru

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Meets with European Union Commissioner

On February 8, 2017, John Kelly, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, met with Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Union (EU) Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the EU have developed a strong partnership in efforts to pursue global security.

The partnership focuses around harboring the United States and European countries from terrorism and unbalanced migration.  DHS is deeply focused on aiding the EU in fighting potential terrorist threats as well as aiding the EU in efforts to improve European countries’ abilities for fighting terrorism.  Secretary Kelly further emphasized how U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will continue supporting EUROPOL (the EU’s law enforcement agency) with terrorism investigations.  Lastly, Secretary Kelly offered further collaboration surrounding collecting and analyzing biographic and biometric information for refugees, migrants, and travelers.

Both entities are focused on international security and will continue working together in efforts to share information.


New Visa Validity Rules in South Africa

Effective January 2017, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) of South Africa will no longer allow the transfer of Temporary Residence Visas (TRVs) with an expiration date beyond the expiration date of the traveler’s passport. If the traveler’s TRV has an expiration date that exceeds the expiration date of the passport, DHA will deem the expiration date of the TRV to have expired upon the expiration date of the traveler’s passport. With DHA permission, the TRV may be renewed no less than 60 days prior to the expiration date of the passport provided that all required application documents are timely submitted.

This new policy differs from the previous policy in which the TRV was transferrable to a new passport if the visa was issued for a period exceeding the passport’s expiration date.


Schengen Visas Ineligible for Entry into Panama and Costa Rica

Schengen Area Visa holders are ineligible for entry into Panama as of January 13, 2017.  This change follows a similar policy that was implemented in Costa Rica on December 14, 2016, which prevents visitors using visas for the EU’s Schengen zone or Japan from entering the country.  Please note that this change does not affect nationals of the United States, Japan or most EU countries who wish to enter Central America without visas for a short period.

Panama will continue to accept nationals from the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom for visitor or residence visas.  Nationals from the aforementioned countries should ensure the visa is valid for multiple entries, is valid for at least one year from the day of entry, and has been used at least once to enter the issuing country before travel to Panama.  Travelers entering Panama who satisfy these requirements will be allowed to remain in Panama for 30 days with an opportunity to renew for an additional 60 days.

Costa Rica will continue to accept nationals or legal residents of the United States, Canada, or European Union for at least six months from entry with multiple entry visitor visas.  Costa Rica has further allowed foreign nationals that hold temporary or permanent residence, student visas or work permits with the European Union for at least six months entry with multiple entry visitor’s visas.  Nationals of Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Peru, Qatar, Taiwan, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates are now allowed to enter Costa Rica without a visa.


Immigration Categories Reorganized in Peru

Effective March 1, 2017, Peru will reorganize immigration categories into temporary and resident categories.  The categorization will create the following changes:

  • Allow family members of foreign national residents to work with dependent status;
  • Create an electronic Migration Information Registry (RIM) for storage of identification data of foreign national visitors and residents;
  • Sanctions in the form of compulsory departure, deportation, and fines if the foreign nationals:
    1. Overstay their visa,
    2. Fail to update their identification card information,
    3. Fail to extend their visa within the validity period,
    4. Fail to pay state visa fees,
    5. Perform activities outside of their authorized immigration status, or
    6. Utilize the wrong passport for entry and exit when the foreign national has more than one nationality.

Temporary Status visas will include the following:

  • Business Visa: Allows for multiple entry for up to 183 days in a year for foreign nationals entering for business, legal, contractual or specialized technical activities.
  • Temporary Designated Worker Visa: Allows for multiple entry for up to 183 days in a year.
  • Visas that allow for tourism, journalism, temporary training/research, art or sports and are otherwise authorized under international agreements.

Resident Status visas will include the following:

  • Designated Worker Visa: Allows for multiple entry for up to one year for assignments requiring specialized professional, commercial or technical knowledge.
  • Worker Visa: Allows for multiple entry for up to one year for foreign nationals engaged in an employment contract, intra-company transfer or contract for services. This visa also allows for foreign nationals to engage in public sector employment for up to two years.
  • Family Member of Resident Visa: Allows for dependents of foreign national residents to work for up to two years without obtaining resident worker status. This is limited to spouses, common law-partners, parents and unmarried children up to 28 years of age.
  • Training Visa: Allows for multiple entries for up to one year for foreign nationals obtaining basic and/or higher education or are participating in exchange programs.
  • Permanent Residence Visa: Allows for indefinite residency in Peru after three years of residency. Visa for purposes of Investment, Research and residence under international agreements