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Paris Attacks: US to Tighten Visa Waiver Program

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The US State Department has announced it will tighten travel restrictions on foreigners who visit the country without needing full visas.

About 20 million people from 38 countries enter the United States each year under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

The move has come under increased scrutiny since last month’s attacks in Paris, with lawmakers expressing concern that militants could get into the US.

Under changes that are be submitted to Congress, all countries in the scheme would be asked to issue “e-passports”.US Visa Waiver Program after Paris attacks

Their registrations would come under greater scrutiny from US agencies, and travelers would also be screened to see if they had traveled to militant-held areas.


The Department of Homeland Security will also ask Congress for additional powers, including increase fines for airlines that fail to verify passport data.

The changes will “enhance our ability to thwart terrorist attempts to travel on lost or stolen passports”, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Paris, where President Barack Obama is attending UN talks on climate change.

The Visa Waiver Program currently allows people from designated countries to visit the US for 90-day stays without getting a visa.

Several of the suspected perpetrators of the Paris terror attacks were from Belgium and France, which are countries on the list.

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