DHS Announces New Travel Regulations under Visa Waiver Program to Include Libya, Somalia, and Yemen

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a statement on February 18, 2016 on the implementation of additional changes to the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 for the countries of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of up to 90 days without needing a visa. In return, those 38 countries must allow U.S. citizens and nationals to travel to their countries for a similar length of stay for tourism or business purposes without requiring a visa.

The new regulations limit visa-free travel to the U.S. for people who have visited Libya, Somalia, and Yemen since March 1, 2011. Unlike the restriction for nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Sudan, this current restriction for Libya, Somalia, and Yemen does not apply to dual nationals of these three countries. Individuals impacted by this new restriction can still apply for a visa using the regular immigration process at embassies or consulates. The Department of Homeland Security noted that U.S. embassies and consulates are available to provide expedited visa appointments for those who need to travel to the U.S. for urgent business, medical, or humanitarian reasons.

To read more about these changes, the DHS press release is available here.

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About ABCs of Immigration Law
The global economy has become increasingly transactional and transcontinental. Since 9/11, there have been many amendments to immigration laws in the United States that have largely affected both individuals and businesses. Cozen O'Connor's immigration law blog, ABC's of Immigration Law, focuses on the interests and the challenges faced by those individuals and business impacted by immigration laws.
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