State Department to propose business visitor changes, new visa application questions

20 Oct 20

UNITED STATES

The Department of State (DOS) has posted prepublication versions of a proposed rule to eliminate the “B-1 in lieu of H” classification and supplemental visa application questions to collect additional information from applicants.

Key Points:

  • The proposed rule would eliminate language from the regulations that allows consular officers to issue a B-1 business visitor visa to certain applicants who are classifiable as H-1B or H-3 nonimmigrants. These applicants would need to independently qualify for a B-1 visa for a reason other than the “B-1 in lieu of H” policy. For this change to take effect, DOS would also need to revise the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) for consular officers.
  • The proposed application questions would collect additional information from certain visa applicants, including travel history for the last 15 years, source of funding for the travel, and other personal information. These additional questions are part of the Trump administration’s “extreme vetting” of visa applicants.
  • Both proposals are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 21, and the agency will accept comments for a 60-day period.
  • Additional DOS regulations affecting business visitors may be posted in the coming weeks.

BAL Analysis: The changes in these proposals are not expected to take effect until 2021. DOS will accept comments for a 60-day period. BAL continues to monitor the progress of the State Department rules affecting business visitors and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@balglobal.com.

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