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US tightens visa exemption program

Posted at: THUrsday - 17/12/2015 14:49 - Viewed: 1193
US tightens visa exemption program

US tightens visa exemption program

Citizens of 38 countries, including many in Europe, will face new restrictions on travel to the United States under changes to the "visa waiver" program tucked into a massive spending bill unveiled in the U.S. Congress on Wednesday.



If the 1.1 trillion USD funding bill passes as expected later this week, citizens of the visa waiver countries would be required to submit to interviews if they have visited "high risk" nations such as Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan since March 2011.  
Countries in the program would also be required to issue passports with electronic chips containing biometric information in order to minimize fraud. They would also be required to report lost or stolen passports to Interpol within 24 hours and screen travelers against Interpol databases.
Another security bill passed by the House in the wake of the Paris attacks, a Republican-backed measure making it more difficult for refugees from war-torn Syria to enter the United States, was not included in the spending package. Some members of Congress said on Wednesday they expected the Syrian bill to be brought up again next year but it faces strong opposition from Senate Democrats and a veto threat from Obama.


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