US spending bill tightens visa waiver program

By REUTERS
December 16, 2015 22:32

 
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WASHINGTON - 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 US Congress on Wednesday.

US officials have been eyeing the visa waiver program, which allows citizens of close allies to enter the country without being screened, since last month's Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Several of the attackers held European passports that would have allowed them to easily enter the United States under the existing system.

If the $1.1 trillion 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.

It would also bar from the program citizens from visa waiver countries like France, Britain and Germany who have dual nationalities.

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