Further Travel Restrictions for the Visa Waiver Program

Further Travel Restrictions for the Visa Waiver Program

After careful consideration and consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State, the Department of Homeland Security has announced that Libya, Somalia, and Yemen will be included as countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries since March 1, 2011.

For now, the restrictions will not apply to dual nationals of these three countries.

The Visa Waiver Program was created to allow individuals of certain pre-approved countries to enter the U.S. without first obtaining a visitor visa. The Program was recently amended, however, to include changes restricting its use for individuals who had visited certain countries of concern.

Under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, the Secretary of Homeland Security may waive Visa Waiver Program travel restrictions if he determines that such a waiver is in the law enforcement of national security interest of the United States. Such waivers will be granted only on a case-by-case basis.

Exceptions generally apply to individuals who traveled to these countries on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations, and sub-national governments on official duty; on behalf of a humanitarian NGO on official duty; or as a journalist for reporting purposes.

DHS continues to review the security of the Visa Waiver Program, the threat environment, and potential vulnerabilities, to ensure the Program’s requirements are in line with the growing threat of terrorism.

Individuals impacted will still be able to apply for a visa using the regular immigration process at our embassies or consulates.

Our office assists hundreds of individuals each year obtain a U.S. visa with our Universal Visa Services Department. If you are interested in applying for a U.S. visa, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!

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