Tied in to the recent bill to continue funding the federal government and
with the terrorist attacks in Paris fresh in their minds, Congress moved
forward in November with adding further measures to restrict those with
dual-citizenship from benefiting from the visa waiver program.
The new regulations prevent those who are dual nationals of Iran, Iraq,
Sudan, or Syria from using the visa waiver program to visit the U.S. even
if they live in a visa waiver country and have never set foot in these nations.
The visa waiver program (VWP) allows for easier travel for those living
in 38 mainly western nations but also inter alia South Korea, Japan, and
Chile and permits those citizens of these counties to come to the U.S.
without needing a visa. Over 20 million people came to the U.S. last year
by way of the VWP. In exchange, Americans can also visit these nations
This new bill means that those who for instance have a parent who is a
citizen of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria but have since relocated to one
of the 38 VWP countries would need to go through additional measures before
they may visit the U.S.
Beginning in 2016, such would-be visitors would need to apply for visitor
visas, pay a fee of $160, undergo an interview at a U.S. consulate in
their native country, and pass further background checks.
Critics of the bill are accusing it of being discriminatory, especially
toward those who may be children of those who have fled the violence of
these counties’ unstable regimes. The German ambassador to the U.S.
opined, saying “Is that the group you want to target? Do you want
to target the people who were exiled by the mullahs and penalize them?”
For help with immigration matters, a Dallas immigration attorney from The
Zendeh Del Law Firm and our firm can provide the legal counsel you need!