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Rule

Designation of Chile for the Visa Waiver Program

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary; DHS.

ACTION:

Final rule; technical amendment.

SUMMARY:

Eligible citizens, nationals and passport holders from designated Visa Waiver Program countries may apply for admission to the United States at U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant aliens for a period of ninety days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. On February 28, 2014, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State designated Chile as a country that is eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Accordingly, this rule updates the list of countries designated for participation in the Visa Waiver Program by adding Chile.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on March 31, 2014.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Gianfranco Corti, Department of Homeland Security, Visa Waiver Program Office, (202) 282-8732.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

A. The Visa Waiver Program

Pursuant to section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1187, the Secretary of Homeland Security (the Secretary), in consultation with the Secretary of State, may designate certain countries as Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries [1] if Start Printed Page 17853certain requirements are met. Those requirements include, without limitation: (1) A U.S. Government determination that the country meets the applicable statutory requirement with respect to nonimmigrant visitor visa refusals for nationals of the country; (2) an official certification that it issues machine-readable passports that comply with internationally accepted standards; (3) a U.S. Government determination that the country's designation would not negatively affect U.S. law enforcement and security interests; (4) an agreement with the United States to report, or make available through other designated means, to the U.S. Government information about the theft or loss of passports; (5) a U.S. Government determination that the government accepts for repatriation any citizen, former citizen, or national not later than three weeks after the issuance of a final executable order of removal; and (6) an agreement with the United States to share information regarding whether citizens or nationals of the country represent a threat to the security or welfare of the United States or its citizens.

The INA also sets forth requirements for continued eligibility and, where appropriate, probation and/or termination of program countries.

Prior to this final rule, the designated countries in the VWP were Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.2 See 8 CFR 217.2(a).

Citizens and eligible nationals of VWP countries may apply for admission to the United States at U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant visitors for a period of ninety days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. To travel to the United States under the VWP, an alien must satisfy the following:

(1) Be seeking admission as a nonimmigrant visitor for business or pleasure for ninety days or less;

(2) be a national of a program country;

(3) present an electronic passport or a machine-readable passport issued by a designated VWP participant country to the air or vessel carrier before departure; [3]

(4) execute the required immigration forms;

(5) if arriving by air or sea, arrive on an authorized carrier;

(6) not represent a threat to the welfare, health, safety or security of the United States;

(7) have not violated U.S. immigration law during any previous admission under the VWP;

(8) possess a round-trip ticket, unless exempted by statute or federal regulation;

(9) waive the right to review or appeal a decision regarding admissibility or to contest, other than on the basis of an application for asylum, any action for removal; and

(10) obtain an approved travel authorization via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). For more information about the ESTA, please see the interim final rule at 73 FR 32440 (June 9, 2008), and implementing notice at 73 FR 67354 (Nov. 13, 2008).

See sections 217(a) and 217(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)-(b); see also 8 CFR part 217.

B. Designation of Chile

The Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Department of State, has evaluated Chile for VWP designation to ensure that it meets the requirements set forth in section 217 of the INA, as amended by section 711 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Public Law 110-53. The Secretary has determined that Chile has satisfied the statutory requirements for initial VWP designation; therefore, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has designated Chile as a program country.[4]

This final rule adds Chile to the list of countries authorized to participate in the VWP. Accordingly, beginning March 31, 2014, eligible citizens and nationals of Chile may apply for admission to the United States at U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant visitors for business or pleasure for a period of ninety days or less without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

C. Technical Corrections

This final rule also deletes from the regulatory text outdated language regarding Belgium and unnecessary language regarding Tawian. First, the regulatory text includes a specific requirement for Belgian citizens traveling under the VWP after May 15, 2003 to present a machine readable passport. This requirement for a machine readable passport has been extended to all VWP countries. See INA section 217(a)(3), 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(3). Therefore, the specific reference to Belgium has been removed. Second, the regulatory text referencing the Secretary's authority to designate Tawain to the VWP is unnecessary and has been removed for clarity.

III. Statutory And Regulatory Requirements

A. Administrative Procedure Act

Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(b)), an agency may waive the normal notice and comment requirements if it finds, for good cause, that they are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. The final rule merely lists a country that the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has designated as a VWP eligible country in accordance with section 217(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(c). This amendment is a technical change to merely update the list of VWP countries. Therefore, notice and comment for this rule is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest because the rule has no substantive impact, is technical in nature, and relates only to management, organization, procedure, and practice. For the same reasons, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), a delayed effective date is not required.

This final rule is also excluded from the rulemaking provisions of 5 U.S.C. Start Printed Page 17854553 as a foreign affairs function of the United States because it advances the President's foreign policy goals and directly involves relationships between the United States and its alien visitors. Accordingly, DHS is not required to provide public notice and an opportunity to comment before implementing the requirements under this final rule.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 603(b)), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), requires an agency to prepare and make available to the public a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effect of a proposed rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions) when the agency is required “to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking for any proposed rule.” Because this rule is being issued as a final rule, on the grounds set forth above, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required under the RFA.

DHS has considered the impact of this rule on small entities and has determined that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The individual aliens to whom this rule applies are not small entities as that term is defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6). Accordingly, there is no change expected in any process as a result of this rule that would have a direct effect, either positive or negative, on a small entity.

C. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

D. Executive Order 12866

This amendment does not meet the criteria for a “significant regulatory action” as specified in Executive Order 12866.

E. Executive Order 13132

The rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, DHS has determined that this final rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

F. Executive Order 12988 Civil Justice Reform

This rule meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

G. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Department of Homeland Security is modifying OMB Control Number 1651-0111, Arrival and Departure Record, to allow eligible Chilean passport holders to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to apply for authorization to travel under the VWP prior to departing for the United States. CBP uses the information to assist in determining if an applicant is eligible for travel under the VWP. The Department is requesting emergency processing of this change to 1651-0111 as the information is essential to the mission of the agency and is needed prior to the expiration of time periods established under the PRA. Because of the designation of Chile for participation in the VWP, the Department is requesting OMB approval of this information collection in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507).

The addition of Chile to the Visa Waiver Program will result in an estimated annual increase to information collection 1651-0111 of 180,000 responses and 45,000 burden hours. The total burden hours for ESTA, including Chile, is as follows:

Estimated annual reporting burden: 4,830,000 hours.

Estimated number of respondents: 19,320,000 respondents.

Estimated average annual burden per respondent: 15 minutes.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 8 CFR Part 217

  • Air carriers
  • Aliens
  • Maritime carriers
  • Passports and visas
End List of Subjects

Amendments to the Regulations

For the reasons stated in the preamble, DHS amends part 217 of title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (8 CFR part 217), as set forth below.

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PART 217—VISA WAIVER PROGRAM

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1. The authority citation for part 217 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1103, 1187; 8 CFR part 2.

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2. In § 217.2 the definition of the term “Designated country” in paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Eligibility.

(a) * * *

Designated country refers to Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom refers only to British citizens who have the unrestricted right of permanent abode in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man); it does not refer to British overseas citizens, British dependent territories' citizens, or citizens of British Commonwealth countries. Taiwan refers only to individuals who have unrestricted right of permanent abode on Taiwan and are in possession of an electronic passport bearing a personal identification (household registration) number.

* * * * *
Start Signature

Jeh Charles Johnson,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  All references to “country” or “countries” in the laws authorizing the Visa Waiver Program are read to include Taiwan. See Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Public Law 96-8, section 4(b)(1) (codified at 22 U.S.C. 3303(b)(1)) (providing that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan”). This is consistent with the United States' one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.

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2.  The United Kingdom refers only to British citizens who have the unrestricted right of permanent abode in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man); it does not refer to British overseas citizens, British dependent territories' citizens, or citizens of British Commonwealth countries.

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3.  For countries designated as VWP countries on or after November 17, 2008, including Chile, only passports containing an electronic chip that includes the biographic and biometric information of the passport holder are authorized for VWP travel. However, for countries designated as VWP countries prior to November 17, 2008, passports issued before October 26, 2006 need not contain an electronic chip with the holder's biographic and biometric information, provided that such passports comply with International Civil Aviation Organization machine readable standards. See 8 U.S.C. 1732(c)(2).

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4.  The Secretary of State nominated Chile for participation in the VWP on June 3, 2013.

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[FR Doc. 2014-07254 Filed 3-28-14; 8:45 am]

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