The US Department of Homeland Security and State Departments jointly announced a tightening of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) today, January 21, 2016. The announcement follows a law passed by Congress in December to tighten the Visa-Waiver Program. The law was aimed at preventing Europeans who have joined Islamic State and other terrorist groups from entering the U.S.
The following people will no longer be eligible to enter the US without a visa:
The above individuals can still enter the US, but only if they have been granted a visa by a US consulate, following an application and interview process.
Under the new law, the Secretary of Homeland Security may waive these restrictions if he determines that such a waiver is in the law enforcement or national security interests of the United States. Such waivers will be granted only on a case-by-case basis. Example of qualifying exceptions include travel for humanitarian work, journalism, and business reasons.
DHS Press Release
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.