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

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Effective January 1, 2024, the Department of State has authorized consular officers to waive required in-person interviews for an expanded subset of visa applicants.

Interviews now may be waived for the following categories:

  • Visa applicants applying for any nonimmigrant visa classification, provided that the applicant:
    • was
  • As of March 2024, the Schengen Area will partially expand through the lifting of air and sea border controls with Bulgaria and Romania. This marks the ninth expansion of the free movement zone, which most recently added Croatia in January 2023. Land border controls with Bulgaria and Romania will remain in place for the time being and the two countries will continue issuing national entry visas rather than Schengen visas. In announcing the expansion, the European Commission – the executive arm of the European Union – emphasized that discussions on lifting land border controls will continue in 2024.Continue Reading Schengen Area Expands to Include Air & Sea Travel to Bulgaria & Romania

    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

    On December 20, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has updated its policy guidance on international students to consolidate and clarify existing policy regarding F and M nonimmigrant students. The updated guidance is in Volume 2, Part F, of the USCIS Policy Manual. Highlights include the following:

    Nonimmigrant Intent

    • Per

    In this Law360 article, Mayer Brown Partner Carl Risch comments on the H-1B visa renewal pilot program introduced by the US Department of State.  “According to Mayer Brown partner Carl Risch, who was assistant secretary of state for consular affairs from 2017-2020, renewals became an issue once the COVID-19 pandemic led to processing backlogs

    After several months of improving processing times, the State Department announced yesterday that it is now processing routine U.S. passport applications in 6 to 8 weeks and expedited applications in only 2 to 3 weeks. This is a substantial, multi-week improvement from early November when the State Department last announced faster processing times. Notably, this

    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

    The State Department has recently extended the validity of certain visas for citizens of France, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cuba.  This trend may signal an effort is underway to adjust visa validity periods for other nationalities and visa types.  Travelers are advised to monitor the State Department’s website for announced changes