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Greece May Risk Losing Visa-free Travel Rights to US

American Visa (XL)

Greece is among five European countries that may have to face being ousted from the US visa waiver program if it doesn’t deal with the “crucial loopholes” in its security system, news magazine Politico reported on Thursday. 

Greece, France, Belgium, Germany and Italy have until next week, February 1, to deal with the issue of fraudulent passports, which involves replacing existing national ID cards with electronic versions that contain biometric data.

In simple terms, millions of travelers from 38 countries will be denied visa-free access to the US for tourism or business. 

Passport immigration

The US Department of Homeland Security is contemplating the decision after an increase in the number of forged and stolen passports, which it says could facilitate the movement of terrorists. The number of illicit documents has doubled in the past six years.

According to Politico, Greece and Italy are among the first two countries that must clamp down on document fraud, particularly in view of their position as stepping stones to Europe to the ever-growing influx of refugees.

The report adds that fake papers are easily available in Turkey, from where the majority of migrants set off for Greece or Italy.

Over 34 million lost or stolen European travel documents have been documented by authorities, who point out however that the number if far greater.

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