Lonely Planet Writer

US tightens security of visa waiver program

The United States announced measures on Thursday that will tighten the security for people entering the country under its visa waiver program.

US tightens visa waiver scheme.
US tightens visa waiver scheme. Image by J Aaron Farr / CC BY 2.0

The changes were put in place amid concerns that many citizens of the 38 countries included in the program have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with militant groups. The visa waiver program allows citizens of participating countries to enter the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. Senator Dianne Feinstein among others have criticized the program as being the ‘Achilles Heel’ of US security. The new measures require use of an e-passport with a digital chip containing information about the holder, as well as an increased presence of US air marshals on international flights. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the changes, saying ‘the current global threat environment requires that we know more about those who travel to the United States. This includes those from countries for which we do not require a visa.’ Read more: reuters.com