DHS works to expand, enhance visa waiver programs

The Homeland Security Department signed visa waiver program memorandums of understanding today with Slovakia, Hungary and Lithuania as part of DHS’ mandate to enhance and expand the electronic system of travel authorization.

The security agreements with the three European Union countries mean that they could be designated as visa waiver program members later this year, allowing citizens of those countries who meet certain requirements to travel to the United States without visas.

Last year, Congress made DHS responsible for strengthening the security arrangements that the country has with its visa waiver program participants, and the department has been working to reach agreements with members of the program. Twenty-seven countries currently participate.

Recently, the United States signed enhanced visa waiver MOUs with the Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia. DHS is hopeful that list will expand rapidly.

Participants in the enhanced program will face new requirements, including being part of a new electronic travel authorization system that DHS is set to unveil later this year. Visa waiver program travelers will provide basic information online that will generate an authorization number for travel. Countries will also be required to ensure reporting of missing passports, enhance security measures at airports that originate flights to the United States and allow air marshals on some flights.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.