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EIG Dispatch | November 4, 2016

November 4, 2016

HIGHLIGHTS

  • U.S. State Department Bans Eyeglasses in Passport and Visa Photos
  • Update: New Requirement for Chinese Nationals Visiting U.S.
  • Update: France Introduces Significant Modifications to Resident and Work Permit Applications
  • Canada Expands Definition of “Child” for Immigration Purposes
  • Canada Proposes Repeal of Cohabitation Requirement

U.S. State Department Bans Eyeglasses in Passport and Visa Photos

Effective November 1, 2016, individuals applying for or renewing their U.S. passports, or applying for U.S. visas, must remove their eye glasses when taking photos. This change was made to eliminate glares and shadows in the photos, which can cause delays in processing applications. Glasses may be allowed for certain medical reasons, such as eye surgery in which eyeglasses are necessary to protect the eyes. In these cases, the applicant must provide a signed statement from a medical health professional (e.g., surgeon or ophthalmologist). For additional information regarding photo requirements by visa type please visit the U.S. State Department website.


Update: New Requirement for Chinese Nationals Visiting U.S.

As an update to our previous alert, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the launch of the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) website for early enrollment. Effective November 29, 2016, Chinese nationals holding 10-year visitor (B-1 or B-2) visas will be required to enroll in the new EVUS before traveling to the United States. The new changes apply to both new visa applicants and current visa holders. To enroll in EVUS, please visit  https://www.evus.gov/evus. Applicants will only need their B-1 or B-2 visas and access to internet for the enrollment process.

Upon submitting the enrollment application, applicants can expect a response within 72 hours. CBP is not collecting a fee for EVUS enrollment at this time, but may do so in the future. EIG  recommends individuals to submit their enrollment applications as soon as they begin to make travel plans in order to avoid any potential delays. Applicants can call the EVUS Call Center at 1-202-325-0180 with any questions or concerns. The Call Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (excluding U.S.  Federal Holidays).


Update: France Introduces Significant Modifications to Resident and Work Permit Applications

As an update to our previous alert, France has issued decrees to implement the new immigration law, N°2016-274, promulgated in March 2016. The decrees, which officially took effect on November 1, 2016, intend to simplify and expedite procedures related to resident and work permit applications. While the decree has officially taken effect, the specific implementation procedures adopted by each local French administration will become known in the coming weeks. EIG will continue to monitor the implementation of this law and what it means for pending and future applications.


Canada Expands Definition of “Child” for Immigration Purposes

Under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, a dependent child is defined as an individual who is “less than 19 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner,” or that an individual who “is 19 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 19 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.” Canada’s immigration authorities have proposed a change to take effect in the Fall of 2017, where the definition of “child” will be expanded to include children who are 21 years old or younger. If approved, this change will allow foreign nationals to sponsor children under the age of 22 for permanent residency. EIG will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed regulation.


Canada Proposes Repeal of Cohabitation Requirement

Under Canada’s current immigration laws, a two year cohabitation requirement must be fulfilled when a Canadian citizen or permanent resident sponsors his/her spouse or common law partner. The two year requirement is used to show the existence of a bona fide relationship. During the two years, the foreign national spouse is deemed a “conditional permanent resident” until the cohabitation requirement is fulfilled. This rule applies to couples who have been in a relationship for less than two years and who do not have any children together.

The Canadian Government has proposed to eliminate its current cohabitation requirement, allowing sponsored spouses to gain full permanent resident status immediately upon the approval of their  application. If approved, the change will apply to sponsored spouses/partner currently in Canada with conditional permanent resident status as well as to applications that are currently in process. EIG will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed regulation.