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On Nov. 20, 2015, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a final rule on the elimination of the visa page insert service within U.S. Passports.  Earlier in the year, DOS published a notice of proposed rulemaking that eliminated the visa page insert service for regular fee passport book holders. This rule will become effective on Jan. 1, 2016, and will coincide with the DOS expected issuance of an updated version of the passport book. [80 FR 72591]. The primary reason given for eliminating visa page inserts is to enhance the security of the U.S. Passport, and to abide by international passport standards.

Previously, U.S. Passport holders had the option of paying for the visa page inserts to accommodate their travel needs for entry/exit visa stamps. The DOS explains that, historically, there has been very limited demand for the visa page insert service. Frequent travelers applying from within the U.S. can request a 28-page or 52-page U.S. Passport book. U.S. citizens applying from outside the U.S. will routinely receive 52-page U.S. Passport books.

Additionally, the DOS final rule in the Federal Register provides interesting data relating to U.S. travelers:

  • The average U.S. passport holder uses six or fewer visa pages.
  • 97 percent of all U.S. passport holders will have used 17 pages or less by the time they renew their U.S. passport.
  • Less than one percent of U.S. passport holders will have used more than 32 pages when they renew their passport.
  • On average, applicants for visa page inserts for a U.S. passport do so seven years after the passport was issued, and 17 percent of these travelers had the smaller U.S. passport book to start with.

[80 FR 72591, 11/20/2015]

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff‡ Laura Foote Reiff‡

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.

Admitted in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.