House Votes to Tighten Visa-free Travel to US
The US House voted on Tuesday to tighten its current “visa waiver” program in the aftermath of the November 13 Paris attacks. The bill passed 407-19.
Thirty-eight countries participate in the visa waiver program, which allows travellers to stay in the US for 90 days without a visa.
According to international reports, in accordance to the new legislation, countries in the visa waiver program would be required to share counterterror information with the US or face expulsion from the program if they decline.
All travelers would be checked against Interpol databases, and visa waiver countries would be required to issue e-passports with chips and biometric.
Other changes instituted by the new legislation include new visa requirements for citizens of Iraq and Syria. Also, visas will be required for anyone who’s been in Iraq and Syria in the previous five years.
Some 20 million visitors visit the US annually under the visa waiver program.
The visa waiver program came under fire after it was determined that the individuals responsible for last month’s Paris attacks were European nationals from Belgium and France.