With only a 9-day notice, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced critical restrictions on French Nationals for E visas on August 20, 2019.   The general rule is that different types of U.S. visas have different visa validity periods depending on the nationality of the visa applicant because the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires the DOS to set country-specific visa policies on a reciprocal basis.   The validity periods are based on each country’s treatment of similar classes of U.S. visitors to its territory, as well as national security, immigration, and other considerations.   In other words, if a country imposes restrictive visa requirements on U.S. citizens, the U.S. reciprocates with more restrictive requirements on that country’s citizens.The E visa reciprocity periods range from 3 months to up to 60 months.    Whereas French nationals have enjoyed the maximum time allowed on their E visas, effective August 29, 2019, E visas will be limited to a validity of only 15 months.  Until this change, E visas have had validity for 60 months for French Nationals.   This change will impose significant burden on French National E visa applicants to have to renew their E visas more frequently at the U.S. Embassies and Consulates.    The expectation is that the U.S. citizens wanting to live and work in France on the reciprocal visa will also receive reduced visas as a result of this change.

The reciprocity tables displayed on travel.state.gov will be updated to reflect the changes above.

This action by the United States comes immediately before this weekend’s G-7 government meetings in France.  Please check in with your GT attorney with specific questions.  This blog will be updated as events and information develop.