Effective August 1, 2024, Israel will require travelers from visa exempt countries to obtain an electronic travel authorization before departing for the country. Travelers applying for the authorization—known as ETA-IL—will receive a reply within 24-72 hours, and if their application is approved, will be allowed to enter Israel for business visits and tourism for up to ninety days at a time. The ETA-IL will remain valid for multiple entries over a two-year period or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever is sooner. The ETA-IL system opened as a voluntary pilot program for U.S. and German passport holders on June 1 and will open to all other visa exempt nationals on July 1. Israel’s introduction of the ETA-IL system comes as the European Union seeks to implement its own electronic travel authorization scheme for visa exempt nationals, which is expected to launch in 2025.Continue Reading Israel Introduces Electronic Travel Authorization Requirement

The European Commission has adopted a new set of rules that enable Indian, Saudi, Bahraini, and Omani nationals to obtain short-stay Schengen visas with longer validity periods. Under the new rules, Indian nationals may be eligible for two- and five-year multiple entry visas, based on their travel history. Saudi, Bahraini, and Omani nationals residing in their respective home countries are now eligible for five-year multiple entry visas. The expansion of visa validity periods reflects the EU’s determination that these nationals pose low migratory and security risks. The moves are expected to facilitate travel to Europe by reducing the frequency with which qualified nationals must apply for new short-stay visas.  Continue Reading EU Opens New Schengen Visa Options for Indian and Middle Eastern Nationals

In a significant development, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking steps to prevent certain applicants from experiencing a lapse in employment authorization while their renewal requests remain pending. The agency is temporarily increasing the automatic extension period from a maximum of 180 days to 540 days from the expiration date stated on the work permit.[1] The agency estimates that the update will safeguard more than $29 billion in employee earnings while saving US employers more than $5 billion in labor turnover costs.

A large population will benefit from the automatic extensions, including individuals with pending adjustment of status applications (green card applications); certain spouses of E, H, and L nonimmigrants; asylum seekers with pending applications; as well as many others.[2] The rule is expected to reduce gaps in these individuals’ employment authorization and thereby protect employers’ continuity of operations and financial stability by avoiding labor turnover and replacement costs.Continue Reading More Time on the Clock: DHS Extends Work Authorization Amid Processing Delays

Effective February 29, 2024, the Canadian government has reimposed visa requirements on certain Mexican nationals. Under the new rule, Mexican nationals traveling by air who hold a U.S. nonimmigrant visa or have held a Canadian visa within the past ten years will be eligible to apply for electronic travel authorization (eTA) to visit Canada. Mexican nationals who do not meet those requirements will need to apply for a Canadian visitor visa. Canada had previously lifted visa requirements for Mexican nationals in 2016.Continue Reading Canada Updates Entry Requirements for Mexican Nationals

On January 1, 2024, the South Korean government launched a pilot program for digital nomad (or “workation”) visas. The pilot program will allow foreign nationals who work remotely for overseas corporations to live and work in South Korea for up to two years. With the introduction of the pilot program, South Korea joins several other countries – including Spain, Italy, Romania, Iceland, the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia – in seeking to attract an increasingly mobile class of global talent through digital nomad visas.Continue Reading South Korea Opens Pilot Program for Digital Nomad Visa

Effective January 1, 2024, Kosovo passport holders may travel to European Union member states in the Schengen Area without a passport, and may remain in Schengen territory for up to 90 days in any rolling 180-day period. EU passport holders are likewise now eligible to travel visa-free to Kosovo. The visa-free program includes travel to all EU member states that are part of the Schengen Area, as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania, plus non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Kosovo passport holders will still require visas for travel to Ireland, which is an EU member but outside the Schengen Area.Continue Reading EU and Kosovo Launch Mutual Visa-Free Travel Program

Effective December 23, 2023, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lifted Türkiye’s visa requirement for six countries: United States, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Tourists from these countries are now permitted to spend 90 days out of a 180-day period in Türkiye without a visa. Previously, foreign nationals from these countries

As of November 25, 2023, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs is moving forward with key updates to the country’s permanent residency pathway for temporary skilled workers. Under the changes, announced earlier this year, all subclass 482 visa holders are eligible to apply for permanent residency. Previously, subclass 482 visa holders in short-term occupations were unable to seek permanent residency. The changes also allow short-term subclass 482 visa holders to renew their visas indefinitely, and reduce the required employment period before seeking permanent residency from three years to two. The new policies are designed to provide more equitable access to permanent residency in Australia.Continue Reading Australia Implements Changes to Permanent Residency Program

On September 21, 2023, the Indian government suspended the processing of visa applications in Canada. The Indian embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Toronto and Vancouver outsource visa operations to BLS International, a third-party provider of consular support services for diplomatic missions around the globe. According to a message posted on the BLS website