The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) was implemented in 1986 in order to allow travelers from certain countries to enter the U.S. for vacation or to attend business meetings without requiring a visa. To utilize the Visa Waiver for trips to the U.S., travelers must register online with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to their trip. Previously, registering with ESTA was free for passengers; however, on September 8, 2010, the government began imposing a fee for new registrations and renewals. Read more in our full Immigration Alert.
As of December 10, 2010, the total number of H-1B cap-subject petitions counted under the regular cap was 52,400. This means that there will soon be less than 10,000 H-1B visas available. With respect to the 20,000 H-1B visas that are made available under the U.S. Master’s degree exemption tranche, 19,100 visas have already been called for as of the same date. As a result, now is a good time to review your hiring plans for any foreign nationals or foreign students.
MBBP’s December 2010 Immigration Alert also contains information on other topics including:
- USCIS Enhances its Information Gathering of H-1B and L-1 Employers and Employees through Form Revisions
- The Labor Condition Application Revisited
More information can be found in our full Immigration Alert.