Border delays expected as new U.S. immigration rules take effect

TORONTO (March 17, 2003) — New U.S. immigration rules that take effect today are expected to cause confusion at border crossings as nationals from 54 countries will now require visas to enter the United States.

Certain landed immigrants in Canada will be required to possess both a valid passport and a non-immigrant visa to enter the United States. The change affects all citizens of British Commonwealth countries except citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, and the United Kingdom. Previously, these landed immigrants did not require a non-immigrant visa.

The requirement does not affect Canadian citizens.

“Inevitably, some people will be caught at the border,” Hugh Williams, chief of consular services at the U.S. consulate in Toronto, told the Canadian Press. “There will be no exemptions.”

The rules are part of an effort to increase border security and target countries the U.S. considers as having a high rate of document fraud and abuse.

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