In a long anticipated move, the
Department of State and the Immigration & Naturalization Service published
interim rules in the Federal Register on January 31 proposing the elimination of
a visa waiver which permanent residents ("landed immigrants") of Canada from
citizens of British Commonwealth countries have enjoyed for many years. The interim rule takes effect March 17, 2003, 45 days from
the date of publication in the Federal Register.
In the past, citizens of 54 countries
who were landed immigrants of Canada took advantage of this visa waiver. Under
the waiver, an individual did not have to apply for a visa at an American
Consulate. The individual could
simply enter the United States from Canada without a passport and could use the
nonimmigrant visa approval notice and evidence of landed immigrant status.
Under the interim rule these individuals
must now apply for visas at American Consulates/Embassies abroad unless they are
entering the United States as Visitors pursuant to the Visa Waiver Program. This
rule is being proposed due to "heightened border security concerns following
the events of September 11, 2001."