WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Department of Homeland Security issued on March 23, 2011, an interim final rule amending its regulations to clarify that individuals holding British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) passports as a result of their connection to the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (Hong Kong) are eligible for participation in the Guam-Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Visa Waiver Program.
The interim final rule will go into effect sixty days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. Once in effect, individuals holding BN(O) passports must present the passport and a Hong Kong identification card to travel to Guam and/or the CNMI under the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program.
The Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program allows certain nonimmigrant aliens to enter Guam and/or the CNMI as nonimmigrant visitors for business or pleasure without a visa for a period of stay up to forty-five days.
The Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program replaced the Guam Visa Waiver Program, by an interim final rule published by DHS on January 16, 2009, as mandated by the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA). Effective November 28, 2009, the CNRA extended U.S. immigration laws to the CNMI.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.