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White House Announces Changes to Visa Waiver Program After Paris Attacks

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AP Photo / Mel Evans

Under its new guidance, the White House is demanding a comprehensive review of its visa waiver program and urging partnering countries to do their part in sharing information about potential threats with the U.S.

Twenty million travelers a year come to the U.S. through the program. Under new requirements, travelers applying for the waivers must disclose "any past travel to countries constituting a terrorist safe haven." The Department of Homeland Security has also been instructed to help visa waiver program countries screen asylum seekers and refugees.

DHS will also begin looking for "possible pilot programs designed to assess the collection and use of biometrics (fingerprints and/or photographs)" to boost security.

The Obama administration is not acting alone, however. It is also asking Congress to play its part. The administration requested that Congress give it permission to impose stricter financial penalties from $5,000 to $50,000 on airlines who fail to ensure traveler passport information is legitimate.

About The Author

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.