\ fr \ Federal Register Publications (CIS, ICE, CBP) \ Federal Register Publications (Legacy INS) - 1997 \ FEDERAL REGISTER INTERIM REGULATIONS - 1997 \ Bureau of Consular Affairs; Visas: Passports and Visas Not Required for Certain Nonimmigrants [62 FR 51030] [FR 59-97]
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Bureau of Consular Affairs; Visas: Passports and Visas Not Required for Certain Nonimmigrants [62 FR 51030] [FR 59-97]
FEDERAL REGISTER CITE:
62 FR 51030
September 30, 1997
BILLING CODE: 4710-06
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
22 CFR Part 41
[Public Notice 2610]
Bureau of Consular Affairs; Visas: Passports and Visas Not Required for Certain Nonimmigrants
Bureau of Consular Affairs, DOS.
Interim rule with request for comments.
Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, extends the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP) to nationals of all countries that qualify under the provisions of the Pilot Program and which are designated by the Secretary of State and the Attorney General as countries whose nationals benefit from the waiver of the nonimmigrant B-1/B-2 visa requirement. This interim rule eliminates probationary entry status in the pilot program, designates Ireland (the only country formerly designated a
s a participating country with probationary status) as a permanent participating country and extends the VWPP to Slovenia.
This interim rule is effective September 30, 1997. Written
comments are invited and must be received on or before October 30, 1997.
Written comments may be submitted, in duplicate, to the
Chief, Legislation and Regulations Division, Visa Services, Room L- 603C, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520-0106.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
H. Edward Odom, Chief, Legislation and Regulations Division, Visa Office, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20522-0113 (202) 663-1203.
This interim rule amends Part 41, Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations concerning visas for nonimmigrants pursuant to section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1187, as amended by Pub. L. 103-415, (108 Stat. 4299, October 25,1994), Pub. L. 103-416, (108 Stat. 4305, October 25, 1994), and Pub. L. 104-208, (110 Stat. 3009-702, September 30, 1996).
Pub. L. 99-603
Section 313 of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), Pub. L. 99-603, amended the INA by adding a new section 217 (8 U.S.C. 1187). Section 217 provides for a nonimmigrant visa waiver pilot program (VWPP) which waives the nonimmigrant visa requirement for the admission of certain aliens into the United States for a period not to exceed ninety days. This original provision authorized the participation of eight countries in the VWPP to be designated by the Secretary of State and the Attorney
General, acting jointly from among countries meeting specific criteria. These original qualifying countries included: France; the Federal Republic of Germany; Italy; Japan; the Netherlands; Sweden; Switzerland; and the United Kingdom. (See
publications 53 FR 24903-24904, June 30, 1988; 53 FR 50161-50162, December 13, 1988; and 54 FR 27120-27121, June 27, 1989.)
Pub. L. 101-649
On November 29, 1990, the President signed the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649, 104 Stat. 4978). Section 201 revised the VWPP set forth in section 313 of IRCA (Sec. 217 INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187). It removed the eight-country cap and extended the provisions of the VWPP to all countries that meet the qualifying criteria of the Visa Waiver Pilot Program and were designated by the Secretary of State and the Attorney General in consultation with the Secretary of State as Pilot Program countries thereunder.
Effective October 1, 1991, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, and Spain, having met all of the requirements for participants in the nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Pilot Program, were added as participants in the Program. (See 56 FR 46716-46717, September 13, 1991.) Brunei was designated as a participant in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program in an interim rule published at 58 FR 40581-40586 of the
of July 26, 1993.
Pub. L. 103-415
Section 1(m) of Pub. L. 103-415 again amended section 217 of the INA to extend the Visa Waiver Pilot Program through September 30, 1995.
Pub. L. 103-416
Section 210 of the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994 (INTC) (Pub. L. 103-416) amended section 217 of the INA extending the Visa Waiver Pilot Program to September 30, 1996. Section 211 of INTC created and established criteria for a new probationary qualification status for countries which met the criteria for that status under the VWPP and which were designated by the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, acting jointly, as countries whose nationals benefitted from the waiv
er of the
nonimmigrant B-1/B-2 visa requirement.
The Department published an interim rule [59 FR 15872] to implement the provisions of sections 210 and 211 (Pub. L. 103-416) on March 28, 1995. Ireland was determined to be the only country which met the criteria set forth for such probationary qualification status. On July 8, 1996 Argentina was added as a non-probationary VWPP country (61 FR 35628-35629) and Australia became a non-probationary participating country on July 29, 1996 (61 FR 39318).
Pub. L. 104-208
On September 30, 1996 the President signed Pub. L. 104-208, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, (IIRIRA). Section 635 of this law again amended INA 217 by extending the Program until September 30, 1997. This law also named the Attorney General as the principal designator of VWPP countries, eliminated probationary VWPP qualification status and made countries then in such status (Ireland being the only country) permanent participating VWPP countries subject to the same d
isqualification criteria established for other VWPP countries.
Requirements for VWPP Participation
For a country to qualify as a participant in the VWPP, the country must agree to waive the visa requirement for nationals of the United States entering for business or pleasure for ninety (90) days or less, must meet statutorily prescribed limits on visa refusal rates for the prior two year period as well as the prior year; must meet statutorily prescribed limits on rates of exclusion at ports of entry and on overstay rates, and must have a machine readable passport program. The Attorney General, in consul
tation with the Secretary of State, has determined that Slovenia has met these requirements, and Slovenia, therefore, is added effective September 30, 1997 as a participating country in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program. (See the Immigration and Naturalization Service rule also published in this issue of the
The implementation of this rule as an interim rule, with a 30-day provision for post-promulgation public comments, is based upon the "good cause" exceptions set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and 553(d)(3). Because this rule will facilitate tourist and business travel to and from Slovenia, delay for pre-promulgation public comment would be contrary to the public interest. This rule will, therefore, become effective upon publication in the
In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 605(b) (Regulatory Flexibility Act), it is certified that this rule does not have a "significant adverse economic impact" on a substantial number of small entities, because it is inapplicable. This rule is exempt from E.O. 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) but has been coordinated with the Immigration and Naturalization Service because action by the Attorney General is required under section 217 of the INA, as amended. The rule imposes no reporting or record-keeping action
from the public requiring the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule has been reviewed as required by E.O. 12988 (Civil Justice Reform) and is certified to be in compliance therewith.