Discover who needs to register with the EVUS to visit the United States. Make sure your US vacation goes without a hitch with the correct entry permits.
Whether it’s New York, LA, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Francisco, or Washington, there’s somewhere in the United States that everyone wants to go to. Visiting the US from abroad means getting the right travel authorizations. We’ve all heard of visas, but who needs the EVUS?
If you’re planning on taking a trip Stateside, it’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of seeing the Statue of Liberty, strolling along Hollywood Boulevard, marveling at the Grand Canyon, or tucking into a big authentic American burger. However, the first thing you need to look at is a little less exciting, but incredibly important: the paperwork.
The US has notoriously rigid rules about who it lets in. Citizens of many countries have to apply for a visa at an American embassy or consulate before they can make the trip. Others have it easier and can apply online for a visa waiver called the ETIAS.
And then, there’s the EVUS.
Do I Need the EVUS to Visit the United States?
The Electronic Visa Update System, or EVUS, is an online system that does pretty much what it says on the tin. It allows travelers to update their visa details over the course of the next 2 years.
Signing up is a quick and easy process. You simply fill out the online form with your details and hit submit. You can find further information about EVUS enrollment here.
However, the EVUS is not currently available for everyone. More importantly, if you are eligible to register with this digital system, it is not optional.
If your passport was issued by certain countries, you will need to be registered with EVUS to travel to the US. And that’s in addition to having a visa!
But which countries are on the EVUS list?
At present, EVUS is exclusively for travelers who hold a Chinese passport. If you are a Chinese citizen, you’ll have to register online and use it to update your 10-year US visa when applicable.
When we say a “Chinese” passport, this means one issued by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
As you are probably aware, the PRC encompasses what we think of as mainland China as well as 2 Special Administrative Regions, which have a high level of autonomy and are considered by some countries to be separate states in their own right.
Then, there is the controversial situation of Taiwan, which was historically part of China, but since 1949 has been governed as a separate country.
If you come from one of these regions, do you need to register with EVUS to travel to the US?
Hong Kong and Macau
If you are a resident of the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong (HKSAR) or Macau (MSAR), it depends on the passport that you hold.
If your passport is a HKSAR or MSAR passport issued by Hong Kong or Macau, you don’t need to register with EVUS. On the other hand, if it was issued by mainland China and is a People’s Republic of China passport, you do.
Taiwan is another gray area. Also known as “Chinese Taipei” and “the Republic of China (ROC)”, Taiwan functions as a separate country, although the PRC claims it as part of China. Conversely, the government of the ROC claims to be the legitimate government of all of China.
The political disagreements and tensions have led to an unusual situation wherein most Taiwanese residents are regarded as citizens of the People’s Republic of China and may be eligible for a PRC passport. If this situation applies to you and your passport was issued by the PRC, you’ll need to register with the EVUS to visit the US.
If you are a Taiwanese citizen traveling with a non-PRC passport, you don’t need to register.
The Future of EVUS
While EVUS is currently only for Chinese travelers, the US plans to roll it out as a requirement for most, if not all other countries in the near future.
If you’re not from China, you might be off the hook for now, but it is worth knowing about the EVUS — one day soon, you might need it!
Other US Visas and Travel Authorizations
The EVUS is not the only bit of travel documentation that exists for the United States — in fact, if you need to register with the EVUS, you need a visa as well!
There are many types of US visa corresponding to the length and reason for your trip. For example, there are immigrant visas, diplomatic/official visas, transit visas, trade visas, student visas, visas for athletes, work visas, and special visas for NATO staff, among others.
The most common category of US visa that you’ll likely need for a short trip is the B visa.
B-1 covers entry for business, while B-2 lets you visit for tourism and leisure. In many cases, embassies simply issue a combined B-1/B-2 visa, which is described as a “visa for temporary visitors for business or pleasure”.
If you’re a Chinese passport holder, the B visa is the one you want. Whether you have a B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 US visa, it will be valid for the next 10 years and you’ll need to register with EVUS every couple of years to keep the details updated.
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to be a national of a country on the US visa waiver list, you don’t need a visa at all. You simply need a passport issued by that country and to register with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Like the EVUS, the ESTA involves filling in a quick online form and you’re good to go.
So there you have it! The wonderful world of American visas, travel authorizations, and the EVUS. Once you have your documentation sorted, you’re free to embark on the trip of a lifetime and enjoy everything the Land of the Free has to offer.