The British government has sought to exclude Russian officials from this year’s Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) by refusing to issue its usual special invitations for the country’s official delegation. According to the Russian embassy in London, some Russian business visitors have been denied UK visas, preventing them from traveling to this week’s show.
The Department of Homeland Security is creating a new visa category, M, to replace the J-1 visa, which allows foreign flight school students to train in the U.S. but is set to expire in June 2010. The new visa will be administered by the DHS instead of the State Department, which issues J-1 visas, and all applicants will be subject to TSA criminal background checks.
Beginning on October 1, the passports of foreign nationals visiting the U.S. from France, Germany, Italy, the UK and 23 other countries must be computer readable or the passport holder must obtain a U.S. visa before entry. Visitors with neither a visa nor a computer-readable passport run the risk of being refused entry, at the discretion of the checkpoint official.
The infrastructure to support business aviation in Asia is improving, but U.S.- and Europe-based business jet operators and their flight support staff still face challenges.
Yes, there is a bill, signed into law by President Clinton in October 2000, that would allow business aircraft operators to enjoy the same visa-waiver convenience afforded certain scheduled airline operators. It would, that is, if the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) had gotten around to integrating the new law into its own regulations.
While the business aviation industry continues to show signs of a steady recovery, U.S. companies are facing new market challenges, one in the form of a dollar that is weaker than the euro, and another in the tougher visa regulations implemented after 9/11.