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2/06/2008 – New Rules For Foreign Visitors To The United States : Be Prepared
With the ever-changing rules, regulations and restrictions for traveling in the past few years, an announcement expected today by Michael Chertoff, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, just made it more challenging for those traveling to the United States.
In tomorrow’s expected announcement Chertoff will lay out the details of changing the protocols for those flying to the United States from “Visa Waiver Nations.” The new rules will require visitors to register online with the United States Government at least 72 hours prior to their visit to the United States. This change in policy is expected to come into place on the 1st of August.
The new Homeland Security policy will collect the same information visitors are required to fill-in on their I-94 immigrations form. This information will now be collected electronically prior to departure. Airlines and travel agencies will be able to pre-file this information for passengers, in much the same way they do for visitors to Australia, and Australia’s “e-visa” program. Electronic registration will be valid for two years from the date it is filed.
In an odd note, the new rules list “most of the Western European nations and Andorra.” This is very odd, as Andorra is directly between France and Spain, 100% surrounded by both nations…….why is that not included in Western Europe?
As an observer of the travel industry, I have to ask this. If airline revenues are plummeting, and the airline industry is a vital part of the US economy, with our economy in a slump, why impose more restrictions? European business leaders fear this new rule can have a negative implication on doing last minute business in the United States and I have to agree. We should not be making it more difficult to the United States and further place fear into those potentially interested in visiting the United States.