The Department of Homeland Security administers the Visa Waiver Program – also known as the VWP. This program allows citizens of 38 countries to travel from their home countries to the United States – for tourism or business purposes – for a maximum of 90 days, without needing to first obtain a travel visa.
The majority of these 38 countries are located in Europe and include Andorra, Austria, Australia, Brunei, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Iceland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Japan, Monaco, Luxembourg, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, Singapore, San Marino, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain, the United Kington, and Switzerland.
In exchange for that accommodation, the governments of these 38 countries are required to reciprocate, allowing citizens of the United States to travel to their countries for the same purposes.
However, new requirements recently imposed by the Trump administration have been added to this program in order to enhance security. For more information about the issues related to visa waiver/ESTA under these new rules, contact experienced Austin immigration attorney Michael G. Murry, of Michael G. Murray, P.A. You can call today at (512) 215-4407 or contact the firm online to learn more.
The 38 countries which are currently participating in the Visa Waiver Program must now use counterterrorism data supplied by the United States in order to screen individual travelers. Another change is that participating countries will have to use United States information in order to screen individuals from third countries who travel across their borders – something that many of the 38 participating countries already do.
Staying for a Longer-Than-Authorized Period
Countries whose citizens stay for a period that is longer-than-authorized must also fulfill certain requirements. Specifically, when citizens of these countries visit the United States at higher rates than normal, these countries must now conduct public awareness campaigns as to the consequences for these overstay periods. Moreover, under the new plan, penalties can now be imposed. One penalty now in existence states that individuals from these countries who stay in the United States for too long a period are not permitted to travel to the country in the future, without first obtaining a visa.
Assessing VWP Countries’ Safeguards at Airports
Also, as part of the new changes, the United States is going to begin measuring the safeguards that VWP countries have in place at their airports regarding “insider threats.” This is especially true when it comes to flights that are direct from the VWP country to the United States. The reason for imposing these safeguards is to ensure that aviation workers, airport employees, and other individuals in VWP countries do not cooperate in imposing some threat to an aircraft that is traveling directly to the United States.
Sacrifices Necessary to Obtain a VWP
In order to obtain a VWP, there are certain sacrifices which the traveler must be willing to make. Those sacrifices include the following:
- Waiving the right to appear in front of a United States immigration judge to contest deportation
- An automatic ‘no bail’ if an immigration official detains the person
- No extension of the 90-day visitation period
Talk to an Austin Immigration Lawyer Today
If you are interested in learning more about the VWP and the new regulations, contact Michael G. Murry, of Michael G. Murray, P.A. today. For a case evaluation and legal consultation, please call (512) 215-4407 or contact the firm online to learn more.
View more contact information here: Immigration Lawyer in Austin.