Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) Enrollment Required for Chinese with 10-Year B1/B2 Visas

Chinese nationals holding 10-year B1/B2, B1, or B2 visitor visas are required to enroll online in the Electronic Visa Update System in order to enter the U.S. on or after Nov. 29, 2016.

 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has created the Electronic Visa Update System to address law enforcement and security concerns regarding long-term validity visa holders. EVUS (www.evus.gov) will periodically collect updates to their biographic and other information, thus increasing the opportunity for CBP to identify individuals who “may pose a threat or who are otherwise inadmissible” to the United States.[1]

1. Who Should Enroll?

Currently, those traveling to the U.S. with People’s Republic of China (PRC) passports containing B1/B2, B1, or B2 visas valid for 10 years should enroll in EVUS.[2] This does not apply to travelers on Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, or Taiwan passports.[3]

Some visa holders have an annotation on their visa that EVUS enrollment is required. The EVUS requirement applies even if the visa has no such annotation.[4]

CBP may change the scope of “covered” persons[5] who should enroll in EVUS by publishing a notice in the Federal Register.[6]

2. When Should Travelers Enroll? What Are the Consequences of Failing to Enroll?

Initial enrollment should have been completed by December 14, 2016, for persons issued visas prior to November 29, 2016,[7] or should be completed “upon receipt” of visas issued after November 29, 2016.[8]

Failure to complete initial enrollment timely results in automatic “provisional revocation” of the visa. However, that provisional revocation is automatically reversed upon compliance with EVUS.[9]

In any case, enrollment should take place before boarding an aircraft or vessel destined for the U.S., or before applying for admission at a land port of entry. Persons who have failed to enroll will not be able to obtain a boarding pass for a flight or enter through a land port of entry to the U.S.

CBP recommends that travelers enroll at least 72 hours before travel.[10] And CBP recommends that travelers with new passports enroll a week before travel.[11]

3. How to Enroll?

To access the system, you will need to enroll on the website, www.evus.gov. After entering the required data, EVUS will provide an enrollment number. Travelers should print or save a copy of completed enrollment for their personal records.

After a traveler submits the online form, he or she will receive an electronic status message on the EVUS enrollment website stating one of the following[12]:

  • Enrolled (aka “notification of compliance”): This is a determination that the visa is valid for travel to the U.S. and has not been revoked.[13] It is not a determination that the traveler will be admitted to the U.S. Such determination is made by a CBP officer when the traveler applies at a U.S. port of entry for admission to the U.S.[14]

  • Unsuccessful: An “unsuccessful” message may occur for reasons such as failure to provide adequate responses to EVUS questions, use of an invalid passport or visa, or “irreconcilable errors” in the data submitted.[15] If the enrollment is “unsuccessful,” the traveler will be provided further instructions. In the meantime, the traveler’s visa will be “automatically provisionally revoked for failure to comply with EVUS.” A CBP call center should also be able to provide further assistance.
  • The State Department has revoked your visa: The traveler will be directed to apply for a new visa, if appropriate.
  • Pending: CBP anticipates that most cases will be pending for only 20 minutes, but some can take up to 72 hours.[16] If a “pending” message is received, the individual should return to check the website later.

4. What Data Does EVUS Collect?

CBP expects enrollment will take about 25 minutes.[17] The system collects the following data[18]:

Travel Document Information:

  • Full name (first, middle, and last)
  • Date of birth
  • Do you have a 10-year U.S. visa for business or pleasure?
  • B1/B2 visa foil number
  • Passport number
  • Passport issuing country
  • Passport issuance date
  • Passport expiration date
  • Does the passport you are traveling with contain your visa?

Enrollee Information:

  • Surname and given name in native language:
  • Gender
  • City and country of birth
  • National identification number, if available
  • Home address
  • Home address in native language
  • Email address
  • Secondary email address
  • Telephone type (home, work cell)
  • Telephone number (including country code)
  • Are you known by any other names or aliases?
  • Are you now a citizen or national of any other country?
  • Have you ever been a citizen or national of any other country?
  • Have you ever been issued a passport or national identity card for travel by any other country?
  • Are you a member of the CBP Global Entry Program?
  • Father’s surname and given name in English and native language
  • Mother’s surname and given name in English and native language
  • Do you have a current or previous employer?
  • Job title
  • Employer name in English and native language
  • Employer address
  • Employer telephone (including country code)

Travel Information:

  • U.S. point of contract name and address
  • Address while in the U.S.
  • Emergency contact information in or out of the U.S.: name, email, and telephone

Eligibility Questions:

  1. Do you currently have any of the following diseases (communicable diseases are specified in Section 361(b) of the Public Health Service Act)? Cholera; Diphtheria; Tuberculosis; Infectious Plague; Smallpox; Yellow Fever; Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers including: Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, Crimean Congo; Severe acute respiratory illnesses capable of transmission to other persons and likely to cause mortality
  2. Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority?
  3. Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?
  4. Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?
  5. Have you ever committed fraud or misrepresented yourself or others to obtain, or assist others to obtain, a visa or entry into the United States?
  6. Are you currently seeking employment in the United States or were you previously employed in the United States without prior permission from the U.S. government?
  7. Have you ever been denied a U.S. visa you applied for with your current or previous passport, or have you ever been refused admission to the United States or withdrawn your application for admission at a U.S. port of entry?
  8. Have you ever stayed in the United States longer than the admission period granted to you by the U.S. government?
  9. Have you traveled to, or been present in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011?

5. How Should Travelers Answer the Question Regarding Prior Visa Denials?

The EVUS online form asks, “Have you ever been denied a U.S. visa you applied for with your current or previous passport….?” For purposes of this question, a denial includes a notice issued by a consular officer under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for “administrative processing” or requesting that the applicant submit additional documents. Even if the visa was subsequently issued, the 221(g) notice technically counts as a denial. If the answer to this question is “yes,” CBP will probably manually review the EVUS application within 72 hours of submission to determine whether the individual can be enrolled.[19]

6. Can EVUS Be Filled in Chinese?

The EVUS website will be available in both English and Chinese. However, the EVUS questions must be answered in English except where information in the traveler’s native language is specifically requested.[20]

7. What’s the Fee?

EVUS enrollment is currently free.[21] CBP anticipates eventually implementing a fee of $ 8.00 (approximately RMB 53).[22] As of now, no time frame has been announced as to when the fee will be introduced[23]. It is anticipated that EVUS will accept payments through debit card, PayPal, or credit card (Union Pay, MasterCard, Visa, JCB Card, American Express, Diners Club, or Discover).[24]

8. What Customer Assistance Does CBP Provide?

Travelers can call the CBP Call Center at 1-202-325-0180. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, except for U.S. holidays, to answer questions regarding EVUS enrollments. The Call Center is staffed with Mandarin speaking operators. You may also contact the Call Center by email at evus@cbp.dhs.gov.[25]

9. When Is Re-Enrollment Required?

Enrollment will be valid for two years, except that earlier re-enrollment will be required if:

  • the traveler gets a new passport[26];
  • the traveler gets a new 10-year B1, B2, or B1/B2 visa[27]; or
  • any of the following “significant changes” occur:
    • change of name
    • change of gender
    • change to country of citizenship or nationality, including becoming a dual national
    • the “circumstances underlying” previous responses to the eligibility (“yes/no”) questions have changed.[28] This includes, for example, a visa denial, arrest, conviction, immigration-related misrepresentation, or unlawful presence in the U.S.

It’s also possible that CBP may rescind the enrollment due to discovering “irreconcilable errors” in the enrollment or for other, unspecified reasons. Upon rescission, the visa will be automatically “provisionally revoked,” and CBP will attempt to notify the individual through the provided email address. The individual may try enrolling again.[29]

10. When Can EVUS Data Be Updated?

Besides the above situations requiring EVUS re-enrollment, the system will allow updates to the following data elements without re-enrolling[30]:

  • Primary email address
  • Secondary email address
  • Home telephone number
  • Cell phone number
  • Work phone number
  • Home address
  • Emergency point of contract
  • Are you in transit?
  • U.S. point of contract
  • Address in the U.S.
  • Do you have a current or previous employer?
  • Employer name, address, telephone number, and title

11. How Does CBP Use EVUS Data?

CBP vets the EVUS enrollment information against selected security and law enforcement databases, including the use of TECS and the Automated Targeting System (ATS).[31]

EVUS data is also checked against Interpol lost and stolen passport records, and Department of State’s lost and stolen passport records and visa revocations.[32]

EVUS data is also reviewed by CBP officers at ports of entry up on arrival.

12. What Are Some Best Practices for Travelers?

a. Complete initial enrollment by the deadlines set forth above and re-enroll before your enrollment expires to avoid any period that your visa is “provisionally revoked.”

b. Be sure to provide truthful and accurate information in EVUS. Willful misrepresentations could make you permanently ineligible for visas or other immigration benefits.[33]

c. At least 72 hours before travel—preferably earlier—check your EVUS enrollment status at www.evus.gov.

d. Travelers should print or save a copy of their completed enrollment for their personal records and carry it with them when boarding a flight to the U.S. or otherwise entering the country.

e. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with a qualified U.S. immigration attorney.

13. What Are Some Best Practices for Immigration Lawyers?

a. Lawyers and other third parties can help with individual or group EVUS enrollments, check EVUS status, and review and update applications.[34] At a minimum, arrange to review clients’ draft EVUS data before it is submitted.

b. Prior to enrolling a client in EVUS, consider submitting a FOIA request to CBP to get copies of previously submitted EVUS enrollments.[35] And consider requesting from the State Department prior Forms DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Applications.

c. You now have at least three dates to add to your firm calendar for a client subject to EVUS: (a) visa expiration date; (b) passport expiration date; and (c) EVUS enrollment expiration date.

d. Where appropriate, assist clients who experience EVUS-related problems to use the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP).[36]

14. What Is Not Yet Known about EVUS?

a. The U.S. Department of State’s Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, asks: “Has your U.S. Visa ever been cancelled or revoked?” Should a person whose visa has been “provisionally revoked” for failure to timely complete initial EVUS enrollment[37] or re-enroll before their prior enrollment expires[38] answer “yes”?

b. Covered persons issued visas on or after November 29, 2016, must complete initial enrollment “upon” visa issuance.[39] How soon after visa issuance must enrollment be completed to avoid “provisional revocation” of the visa under 8 C.F.R. § 215.24(g)(1)?[40]

c. Both the Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and the Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application ask, “Has your U.S. visa ever been cancelled or revoked?” Must a person whose visa was “provisionally revoked” answer “yes” to avoid a potential charge of inadmissibility due to misrepresentation?[41]

d. EVUS enrollment is generally valid for two years.[42] If the enrollment expires without being renewed, the visa is “provisionally revoked.”[43] A noncitizen present in the U.S. whose visa has been revoked is deportable.[44] Will provisional revocation render a person deportable?[45]

e. CPB has the authority to rescind an individual’s EVUS enrollment due to discovering “irreconcilable errors” or due to “other circumstances,” in which case the individual’s visa will be automatically provisionally revoked. 8 C.F.R. § 214.24(g)(4). In what situations does CBP foresee using this authority?

f. Does CBP foresee using its authority under 8 C.F.R. § 215.23(c) in the near future to designate other nationalities and/or other visa categories as covered by EVUS?

g. While CPB states that third parties can assist with EVUS enrollment, EVUS includes this certification: “I, the enrollee, hereby certify that I have read, or have had read to me, all the questions and statements on this enrollment. I also understand all the questions and statements on this enrollment. The answers and information I have provided in this enrollment are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.” Must the enrollee personally tick the checkbox for this certification?

Endnotes

  1. DHS, Privacy Impact Assessment for the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) 1, DHS/CBP/PIA-033 (Aug. 25, 2016), https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/privacy-pia-cbp-evus-august2016.pdf. See also CBP, Establishment of the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS), 81 Fed. Reg. 72481, 72482 (Oct. 20, 2016).
  2. CBP, Notice: Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) Requirements: Identification of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as an EVUS Country and Designation of Maximum Validity B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 Visas as Designated Visa Categories, 81 Fed. Reg. 72600 (Oct. 20, 2016). This includes visas issued for more than nine years and all replacement visas issued to correct errors in the original visa, as designated visa categories when the visas are contained in a passport issued by the PRC. Id.
  3. CBP, Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) Frequently Asked Questions (Nov. 24, 2016), https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/electronic-visa-update-system-evus/frequently-asked-questions (hereinafter, “CBP EVUS FAQ I”). Confusingly, the EVUS website has a separate article with a similar title: CBP, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.evus.gov/evus/#/faq (hereinafter, “CBP EVUS FAQ II”).
  4. Id. See AILA, Comments on DOS EVUS Final Rule (Dec. 19, 2016), AILA Doc. No. 16121949 (recommending that such an annotation always be used to notify visa holders about the EVUS requirement).
  5. 8 C.F.R. § 215.23(a) (defining the term “covered alien”).
  6. 8 C.F.R. § 215.22.
  7. 8 C.F.R. § 215.24(c)(1)(i).
  8. 8 C.F.R. § 215.24(c)(1)(ii).
  9. 8 C.F.R. § 214.24(g), (h); 22 C.F.R. § 41.122(b)(3).
  10. CBP EVUS FAQ I.
  11. Id..
  12. 81 Fed. Reg. at 72483.
  13. 8 C.F.R. § 215.23(d).
  14. 8 C.F.R. § 215.23(f).
  15. 81 Fed. Reg. at 72483.
  16. Privacy Impact Assessment, supra, at 2.
  17. 81 Fed. Reg. at 72488.
  18. Some of this data resembles data in the Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application. No photograph or fingerprints are required. CBP EVUS FAQ I.
  19. See AILA, CBP Practice Pointer: Don’t Risk a Misrepresentation Finding, AILA Doc. No. 12060442 (Feb. 11, 2013) (describing how to answer a similar question in the context of completion of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization by travelers under the visa waiver program). See also Kelly McCown, William Coffman, and Michael R. Jarecki, Selected Changes in B-1, B-2, and Visa Waiver Program Travel, in Immigration Practice Pointers 289, 292-295 (2011-12 ed.)
  20. CBP EVUS FAQ I. Curiously, CBP says its website is written in “Mandarin Chinese.” Although “Mandarin” is a spoken dialect of Chinese (as are Cantonese, Shanghainese, etc.), there is no such thing as a “Mandarin” written language. Probably, CBP means that their website is written in simplified Chinese characters as used in mainland China, not traditional characters as used in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
  21. CBP Launches the Electronic Visa Update System for Early Enrollments (Oct. 31, 2016), https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-launches-electronic-visa-update-system-early-enrollments.
  22. 81 Fed. Reg. at 72487.
  23. https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-launches-electronic-visa-update-system-early-enrollments
  24. Slides from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing briefing for the American Chamber of Commerce China (Oct. 21, 2016), http://lawandborder.com/slides-evus-briefing-u-s-embassy-beijing-oct-21-2016/.
  25. CBP EVUS FAQ I.
  26. 8 C.F.R. §§ 215.24(b)(2), (e). If the traveler has a valid visa in an expired passport, they may travel to the U.S. with both the expired and the new passports. The new passport should be listed as the primary passport in EVUS. CBP EVUS FAQ II.
  27. 8 C.F.R. §§ 215.24(b)(2), (e).
  28. 8 C.F.R. § 215.24(e).
  29. 8 C.F.R. § 215.24(g)(4).
  30. At the port of entry, CBP officers can also make the same limited changes that enrollees can make. Privacy Impact Assessment, supra, at 21.
  31. Privacy Impact Assessment, supra, at 10; See 81 Fed. Reg. at 72485.
  32. Privacy Impact Assessment, supra, at 11; See 81 Fed. Reg. at 72485.
  33. See INA § 212(a)(6)(C)(i) (ground of inadmissibility for misrepresentation).
  34. CBP EVUS FAQ II. Of course, travelers remain responsible for the truthfulness and accuracy of all information submitted on their behalf. 81 Fed. Reg. at 72483.
  35. CBP will generally retain EVUS data for 15 years. Privacy Impact Assessment, supra, at 4-5.
  36. DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) (Oct. 20, 2016), https://www.dhs.gov/dhs-trip.
  37. 8 C.F.R. § 215.24(g)(1).
  38. 8 C.F.R. § 215.24(g)(2).
  39. 8 C.F.R. § 215.24(c)(1)(ii).
  40. See AILA, Comments on DOS EVUS Final Rule (Dec. 19, 2016), AILA Doc. No. 16121949 (suggesting a 14-day window to complete EVUS enrollment after the visa is issued or that the government automatically enroll individuals in EVUS up on visa issuance).
  41. See AILA, Comments on DOS EVUS Final Rule (Dec. 19, 2016), AILA Doc. No. 16121949 (expressing concern about this issue).
  42. 8 C.F.R. § 215.24(b).
  43. 8 C.F.R. §.215.24(g)(2); 22 C.F.R. §.41.122(b)(3).
  44. INA § 221(i).
  45. See AILA, Comments on DOS EVUS Final Rule (Dec. 19, 2016), AILA Doc. No. 16121949 (expressing concern about this issue).

16 Replies to “Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) Enrollment Required for Chinese with 10-Year B1/B2 Visas”

  1. The enrollment system is not working properly. It showed a blank webpage at step 5 of 7. Please advise of any other way to enrol in EVUS.

    1. Will: Thanks for your report. Unfortunately, there is no other way to enroll in EVUS besides using the CBP’s website at http://www.evus.gov. You may want to switch browsers (we’ve used up-to-date versions of Internet Explorer and Edge with no problems), clear your browser history, restart your PC, try connecting with a VPN, and/or switch to a different location with a better internet connection.

  2. I submitted a EVUS form with an error. In the question, “Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?” I accidentally put YES in the answer. However, this is just a error. I have never violated any law. Unfortunately, this error made my visa revoked. I checked my EVUS status later after submission and found that it shows DOS has revoked your visa. In this case, if I re-apply for a new visa, will this error and revoked visa be a problem in interview? Can I have a new visa?

    1. Monica: You’ll need to apply for a new visa, explaining that you made an error in your enrollment. The consular officer may require you to submit proof that you have no criminal conviction.

  3. I have a US tourist visa valid for 9 year and 28 days (from June 3rd. 2015 to May 31st. 2025) and tried to enroll in EVUS but the website does not allow me to continue because of a supposed “error” in the foil number. There is no mistake with the foil number, I double checked. I don’t know if it actually doesn’t allow me to enroll in EVUS because I do not have a full term 10-year U.S. visa. So, will I be able to enter the US if I haven’t enrolled in EVUS due to this situation?

    1. Elena: Visas valid for more than 9 years require EVUS enrollment. Our firm has encountered the problem where EVUS says there’s an “error” in the foil number even though it’s entered accurately. Try contacting the CBP help center to see if they can resolve it.

  4. I have submitted the enrollment a week ago. However, I didn’t get any response. When I checked the status online, after entered all the information, it says “unable to locate the enrollment in the system!” What should I do now?

    1. Jenny: Assuming you entered the correct Enrollment Number, this is the first time I’ve heard of the “unable to locate the enrollment in the system” error message. You may want to contact the CBP help center. Barring that, you may need to submit a new enrollment.

  5. This is really confusing. Will make a traveler think twice before considering visiting the US. Airline companies and tourism oriented businesses in the US will definitely suffer.

  6. I have filled out my valid passport number and B1/B2 visa foil number for EVUS enrolment. However I got an error message saying: visa is not valid or cannot be found. I have double checked many times and I know the passport number and visa number are correctly input. Please let me know what should I do because I already booked travel plan with my family during spring break.

    1. Zhou: We saw this error message commonly in the first weeks EVUS was operational. Apparently, not all the PRC 10-year B1/B2 visas were input by CBP into EVUS, so the records couldn’t be found. Perhaps, CBP needs to input your visa data into EVUS. I suggest you contact the CBP Help Center.

  7. I have enrolled a while back along with the rest of my family, and I am wondering if I need to provide any proof of enrollment at the port of entry. Will the system have it there, or do we need other documents?

    1. You aren’t required to carry a copy of your enrollment to board the plane and enter the U.S. at a port of entry. Still, it’s a good idea to have it in case there’s any question about whether you enrolled.

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