Amid other changes that have been passed in the US Congress, another bill called the Visa Waiver Improvement Act of 2015 was passed by a overwhelming majority of 407 against 19 naysayers. This bill is an amendment towards the 1986 bill which allows for citizens of 38 countries to visit US without acquiring a visa. Started in 1986, the visa allowed these citizens to stay in the US for up to 90 days. All they had to do was provide detailed information to US Immigration authorities for screening against US security agencies. The reasoning behind the move comes from the after effects of the Paris attack where people were radicalised after visiting war torn nations.
The issue rose as the Paris attacks happened in a country that is a part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) list. The list also includes Germany, Singapore, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and the UK. In this list, the spotlight shined on recent news from Belgium and France that is seen indirectly affected the US.
The bill hasn’t been passed by the US Senate yet. If passed, the bill will annul the waiver program. Thus making visitors to apply and obtain to electronic passports to contain biometric data which will be checked against data from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and other data as seen fit by the US Department of Homeland Security. The bill is passed may be enforced by April next year. Presently, about 20 million visitors visit the North American nation every year.
The nay sayers though have been voicing their opposition that the Improvement Act will deter travellers, and not essentially potential radicals.
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Original Source:Press Telegraph