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Uproar After the Imposition of Visas on “Middle Eastern” Europeans | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A form to obtain a US visa

A form to obtain a US visa

Forms to obtain a US visa

Washington began its implementation of exceptions to its visa waiver programme that allowed European citizens to enter the United States without a visa on Thursday.

The exceptions include those who are dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. Any other European citizen who has visited these countries in the last five years is also included.

Under the original visa waiver programme, all European citizens could stay in the United States for three months without an entry visa.

Those who have visited the listed countries for professional reasons such as journalists and aid workers who work for international organisations will be exempted from the latest exceptions. According to Reuters news agency, these exceptions could include Iranians who visited Iran after the nuclear deal was signed last year. The deal angered Republican leaders in congress who want to tighten American sanctions on Iran after international sanctions were lifted.

There are 38 countries in the visa waiver programme and most of them are European. Last month, after repeated threats made by ISIS to attack the United States after the Paris attacks and that these attacks would be bigger than Al-Qaeda’s on the 11th of September 2001, congress passed a law to control those who enter the United States from Europe, especially those who take advantage of the visa waiver programme.

Whilst the visa waiver programme caused concern amongst security officials, the new restrictions have sparked fears amongst tourism companies and airlines that they will cause losses in the US economy and a decline in the number of tourists as the United States receives more than 20 million tourists annually and they spend around $200 billion.