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U.S. passport requirement worries B.C. tourism industry

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B.C. tourism officials are bracing for Jan. 23, when a new U.S. law takes effect requiring people travelling by air to have a passport to enter the U.S.

Tourism Vancouver president Rick Antonson said there are concerns the law will deter many short-term U.S. visitors because most of them don't have the passports they would need to get home again.

» original article

USCIS Fact Sheet regarding Travel outside of the U.S. by Asylum Applicants, an Asylees, and LPRs based on Asylum

The USCIS has published a Fact Sheet regarding travel outside the United States by Asylum Applicants, Asylees, or Lawful
Permanent Resident who obtained Lawful Permanent Resident status based on Asylum Status. The USCIS notes:

Citizens of certain countries are NOT required to have passports valid for 6 months beyond the date they intend to leave the US.

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Under the general rule, a foreign national must present a passport, when entering the U.S., which is valid for at least six months beyond the date the individual intends to depart the U.S. However, the U.S. has agreements with certain countries which exempts the citizens of those countries from this rule. Citizens of these exempt countries must still present a valid passport when entering the U.S.

The U.S. State Department further advises citizens of exempt countries:

If the passport is not valid for the duration of your stay, you will be required to apply for a new passport from your Embassy while in the U.S. If your visit will be of short duration during which time your passport will expire, we recommend that you obtain a new passport before traveling as you will be admitted only until the date on which the passport expires. Such action before you depart for the U.S. will save you the inconvenience of applying not only for a new passport, but also an extension of stay.

The countries whose citizens are exempt from the six month rule are as follows:

DHS Publishes FAQs about New Passport Requirements for Citizens of Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a set of FAQs on the air portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which goes into effect beginning January 23, 2007, and applies to citizens of the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Bermuda. After that date, those citizens who are traveling by air between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport to enter the U.S. The FAQs appear below.

New Passport Requirement for Air Travel to United States as of January 23, 2007

The Departments of State and Homeland Security have announced that beginning on January 23, 2007, it will be required "for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere". The Press Release appears below.

DHS Announces that 24 of the 27 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries Have Met e-Passport Requirements

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on October 26, 2006 that 24 of the 27 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries have met the October 26, 2006 deadline by satisfying the requirement for issuing e-Passports. These requirements mandate that passports contain a contactless chip with the passport holder's biographic information and a biometric identifier (e.g., a digital photograph of the holder). DHS announced in July 2005, that passports issued by VWP countries on or after October 26, 2006, must comply with these requirements in order to be valid for entry into the United States without a visa, i.e., under the visa waiver program.

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Search for H1B Visa Employers

You can search for "H1B Visa Employers" using this database, which was compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources. This database identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas in the past, or who have at least started the process by filing for the LCA. If you find an employer you are interested in, you can then contact them to inquire as to whether they have any current job openings in your field. Please tell your friends about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for H1B Visa employers.

"FMG Friendly" Employers

Foreign Medical Graduates ("FMGs") should be aware that there are "FMG Friendly" employers, and "FMG Unfriendly" employers. This database (compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources) identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas for foreign medical graduates in the past (or at least started the process by filing for the LCA), and who can therefore be deemed "FMG Friendly". Please tell your colleagues about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for "FMG Friendly" employers in a given state.

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