Amid terror fears, US tightens screening for visitors from Europe and Asia

By REUTERS
November 3, 2014 18:23
2 minute read.

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

WASHINGTON - Concerned about foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq, Washington imposed tighter security screening on Monday for travelers from countries, mostly in Europe and Asia, whose citizens do not need a visa to get into the United States.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said people from countries in the US Visa Waiver Program will have to provide additional information on an electronic application they need to file to be eligible to enter.

"We are taking this step to enhance the security of the Visa Waiver Program, to learn more about travelers from countries from whom we do not require a visa," Johnson said in a statement.

The move was in response to the security threat posed by the possible radicalization of foreign fighters in Syria who hold Western passports and thus would not arouse suspicion at airports or other entry points.

Thirty-eight countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, or VWP, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and other European countries as well as Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, according to the State Department.

"DHS is concerned about the risks posed by the situation in Syria and Iraq, where increasing instability has attracted thousands of foreign fighters, including many from VWP countries," the DHS official said on condition of anonymity.

The official cited cases in which people traveled from Syria to Europe and carried out attacks, including a museum shooting in Belgium in May, as well as public threats against the United States in response to its involvement in Iraq.

Islamic State militants have released videos of the beheading of American civilians that blamed US air strikes for their actions.

In order to travel without a visa from these countries, visitors must get approved through an online system called Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, and pay a fee.

Under the rules that took effect Monday, people from those countries will have to provide additional information - passport data, contact details and other names used - in their travel application submitted through ESTA, Johnson said.

The DHS official said the additional data will help security officials identify threats to the United States and prevent suspected terrorists from getting in.

"We are also confident these changes will not hinder lawful trade and travel between our nation and our trusted foreign allies in the Visa Waiver Program," Johnson said.

Related Content

Breaking news
July 18, 2018
Explosions heard in Iraqi city of Kirkuk

By REUTERS