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More Changes Coming to the Visa Waiver Program

February 18, 2016

DHS announced that it is continuing its implementation of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, by adding Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as countries of concern, and limiting VWP travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries since March 1, 2011. At this time, the restriction on VWP travel will not apply to dual nationals of these three countries. 

 

December 2, 2015

The White House has released a Fact Sheet on Visa Waiver Program (VWP), including information on new security changes announced yesterday. The fact sheet states that the Department of Homeland Security will immediately take steps to modify its Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) applications to capture information from VWP travelers regarding any past travel to countries constituting a terrorist safe haven.

In addition, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a statement on steps that have been taken to strengthen the screening of those who are traveling to the United States, including security enhancements to the VWP.

VWP permits visa free travel for 20 million visitors per year to the United States for citizens of 38 program partner countries around the world. VWP utilizes a layered system of security to detect and prevent terrorists, serious criminals, and other potentially dangerous individuals from traveling to the United States. These layers of security include comprehensive screening of VWP travelers prior to departure for the United States, at various points throughout the traveler’s journey, and upon arrival at U.S. ports of entry.

While tightening up VWP security procedures to the extent possible without new laws, the Administration will work with Congress to enact other security measures.

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