Trump’s latest changes to the US migration policies come in the form of suggested modifications to the international Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and will affect the ESTA travel visa for the US.
Due to a recent string of terrorist attacks in various European countries who form part of the 38 VWP countries, the Trump administration have stated that they must find ways to strengthen their border controls with regards those visitors arriving from visa waiver countries, including many European nations.
The Trump administration has asked all the current 38 countries who participate in the Visa Waiver Program to adhere to the agreement to the full extent. This may mean that in some cases it will be necessary for the country in question to supply extra information about third-country travelers. These are citizens of countries outside the Visa Waiver Program who travel from the ESTA eligible countries to the US.
At the present moment the ESTA visa waiver allows citizens of these 38 nations to visit the USA for tourism or business purposes for any trip up to 90 days without the need to apply for an Embassy or Consulate visa. Simply filling out an online form with personal details, paying the US visa waiver fee and completing the security, health and travel questions means that nearly all applicants can travel to and around the US and remain in the country for any 3 month period as a tourist. Without sufficient information about these travelers, the Trump administration feels that the country is more at risk of unnecessary security or health risks.
President Trump has announced that these new requirements for ESTA applicants will take effect immediately and the act is regarded as a mutual collaboration in order to secure border controls.
In particular the new requirements have been implemented due to a notable number of certain citizens deciding to stay in the US after the ESTA has expired and the 90-day period is over. From four of the 38 countries, there are more than 2% of visitors who overstay their permitted visa allowance. These four countries are Portugal, San Marino, Hungary and Greece. Therefore President Trump has requested that these countries maintain a more attentive ESTA screening procedure without asking them to increase spending on the process.
Additionally, there has been talk of harsher consequences for those ESTA countries who do not abide by the agreement to the full extent by ensuring their citizens return to their country of departure once they have visited the US. There is the possibility that the US will take measures to exclude certain nations from the Visa Waiver Program if they are unable to reduce this problem in the future.