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Additional security measures for US Visit Visas

Earlier this month, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced additional security measures for those entering the US ninety day visit visa scheme the Visa Waiver Program.

The Visa Waiver program (VWP) is a visit visa scheme, aimed at nationals of Countries who have a low visa refusal rate and whose nationals it is felt are unlikely to stay in breach of US immigration laws. You can enter as a tourist or business visitor as long as you wish to remain in the US for less than 90 days. The specified countries for the program are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Denmark, Finland, Chile, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, or Switzerland and the United Kingdom

The changes require that applicants provide additional details when applying under the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA.) They will now have to supply the following additional information:

  • National identity number (if relevant)
  • Parents' names
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • City of birth
  • Employment details
  • Passport details
  • aliases

The US Government says that this additional information is to help with the screening process, and to help identify potential security risks. US Immigration (CBP) says that this is necessary to help combat international terrorism.

The CBP have said that 'These improvements are designed to address the immediate foreign fighter threat, provide an additional layer of enduring security for the VWP and facilitate visa-free travel to the United States.'