~Immigration News Flash~ Possible changes to the VWP

On December 18, 2015, the 2016 The Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 was signed into law, establishing new eligibility requirements for travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). VWP permits visa free travel for citizens of 38 program partner countries around the world. In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken immediate steps to modify its Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) applications to capture information from VWP travelers regarding any past travel to countries constituting a terrorist safe haven.

Specifically the following individuals are no longer eligible to travel to or be admitted to the United States under the VWP:

  • Nationals of VWP countries who have travelled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March, 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions) are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the VWP.
  • Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.


In addition, the new VWP will utilize information sharing with international organizations such as INTERPOL to implement stricter compliance requirements such as the use of e-passports, biometrics and related technologies. If you have recently travelled to one or more of these countries and are experiencing difficulties with your VWP, please contact one of the experienced legal professionals at RBL for assistance.

For more information on the latest changes to the VWP, please review CBP’s FAQ online.

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