Congress proposes changes to visa waiver program


Following the terror attacks in San Bernardino, California and Paris, the House of Representatives recently voted overwhelmingly to tighten restrictions on travel to the U.S.  by citizens of 38 nations who currently enjoy special privileges under the “Visa Waiver” program (VWP).

The VWP allows citizens of certain nations to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without the need for obtaining a U.S. visa, after completing a simple application under the ESTA system. Under the program, more than 20 million visitors enter the U. S. each year without visas, which is a boost to our economy and tourism industry. These VWP countries also extend the same privileges to U.S. Citizens as well.

Under the proposal, foreign visitors from the visa waiver countries, which include much of Europe, would soon be required to obtain a visa to travel to the U.S. if they had been to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan during the past five years. The measure would also require VWP countries to share information with U.S. intelligence authorities about suspected terrorists.


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