WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security is adding new requirements for the countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program as part of the Trump administration of the ongoing efforts to tighten border travel and security.
The DHS announced Friday that the 38 countries that participate in the program will now be required for the use of the AMERICAN counter-terrorism information on the screen travelers crossing their borders, as part of their existing information-sharing agreements.
The US will also begin to assess how effectively the countries to protect against insider threats to aviation security by ensuring that they have their veterinarian staff of the airport and ensure that these workers will not be damaged.
They also require Hungary, Greece, Portugal, and San Marino — four countries whose citizens remained in the U.S. longer than allowed at a rate of two percent or more from last year to the launch of the public awareness campaigns to educate their citizens on the details of the program and the consequences of violating the terms and conditions.
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism for up to 90 days without a visa. Around 20 million people travel on the program each year.
“The United States faces an adaptive and flexible enemy, as terrorists continue to search for ways to reach our country and to direct, enable, and inspire attacks against us,” the agency is the new secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, said in a statement. “It is crucial we keep these threats by improving our security posture.”
As part of the roll-out, DHS is also calling on Congress to pass legislation to make permanent a series of measures already taken, such as the requirements of countries to the US Federal Air Marshals to operate on a plane to the US
Senior officials emphasized they expect the countries to comply voluntarily. But if they don’t, the U.S. can take a number of steps, including, in the last resort, the termination of their membership in the program.
Officials said a number of countries are already in order, but refused to say how many or which ones.