U.S. to Require All Visa Waiver Applicants to Use E-Passports

Dallas immigration lawyers

Dallas immigration lawyers – Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.

Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) May 6, 2016 – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that all travelers entering the United States from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program would be required to have an electronic passport, known as an e-Passport.

An e-Passport includes an electronic chip that contains the traveler’s biographical information, which DHS said is a security enhancement and protection against identity theft. The new requirement took effect April 1 and affects travelers from 38 countries.

“The requirement that Visa Waiver applicants now must use an e-Passport is a reasonable balance to facilitate added protection against passport forgeries and identity theft, and ease of convenience in the use of the program,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration attorney with Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “The requirement only applies to Visa Waiver applicants; those without an e-Passport are still able to apply for a visitor visa at a U.S. consular post abroad.”

The new requirement was mandated by the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act passed by Congress in 2015. The Visa Waiver Program allows travelers from certain countries to come to the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa.

DHS said that requiring e-Passports was the latest in a series of security improvements. In the past two years, DHS has also increased the amount of information it collects from travelers under the Visa Waiver Program, required Visa Waiver countries to share more criminal and terrorism information, and increased cooperation with those countries on screening asylum and refugee seekers. As of January 2016, travelers are ineligible for a Visa Waiver if they are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, or if they traveled to those countries or to Libya, Somalia or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011.

Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.
2591 Dallas Parkway, Suite 300
Frisco, TX 75034
Phone: 972.233.6200

By Appointment Only
Three Galleria Tower
13155 Noel Road, Suite 900
Dallas, TX 75240
http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com

  • Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Update: USCIS Completes Random Selection of H-1B Lottery Winners
    On May 2, 2016, USCIS announced that it had completed its random selection of H-1B petition “lottery” winners for cap-subject H-1B filings for fiscal year 2017.  For those petitions selected, USCIS asks petitioners to wait until they receive a fee receipt.  For those petitioner not selected, USCIS will begin returning those petitions.  The process will …
  • GAO testimony on improvements for the EB-5 program
    In February 2016, a House committee heard testimony on needed improvements to the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Rebecca Gambler, a Director of the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Homeland Security and Justice Team, testified before the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on the Judiciary on actions which USCIS has taken and plans it has to …
  • USCIS Reaches H-1B Cap For Fiscal Year 2017 in 7 Days
    On April 7, 2016, USCIS announced that it had received more H-1B petitions that the statutory annual limit for H-1B employer filings for Fiscal Year 2017. Federal law permits a maximum of 65,0000 first time H-1B petitions, and an additional 20,000 first time U.S. earned advanced degree holder H-1B petitions each fiscal year.  Each federal …