Summary: S.2337 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.2337. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (12/01/2015)

Visa Waiver Program Security Enhancement Act

This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act regarding the visa waiver program to prohibit a national of a program country who has traveled to Iraq or Syria at any time during the most recent five-year period from traveling to the United States without a visa.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may prohibit a national of a program country from traveling to the United States under the program if the national has traveled during the past five years to a country in which: (1) a designated foreign terrorist organization has a significant presence, and (2) prohibiting the national from traveling to the United States under the program is in U.S. national security interests.

An alien must, at the time of application for program admission, have a valid, unexpired, tamper-resistant, machine-readable passport that incorporates biometric and document authentication identifiers that comply with standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Any alien applying for program admission must have a passport that meets these requirements. (The exception for pre-October 26, 2005, passports under the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 is eliminated.)

A program country must: (1) enter into and comply with an agreement with the United States to assist in the operation of an air marshal program, and (2) comply with U.S. aviation and airport security standards.

A country that does not fully implement information sharing agreements shall be terminated from the program.

In determining whether to designate a country as a program country or whether a program country should retain its designation DHS shall consider:

  • the country's capacity to collect, analyze, and share data concerning dangerous individuals;
  • the country's screening and sharing of lost or stolen passport information;
  • whether the country collects, analyzes, and shares biometric and other information about individuals other than U.S. nationals who are applying for asylum, refugee status, or another form of non-refoulement protection in such country; and
  • whether a country shares intelligence about foreign fighters with the United States and with multilateral organizations.

DHS shall:

  • ensure that each alien traveling to the United States under an approved electronic system for travel authorization has submitted biometric information, including photographs and fingerprints, before boarding a U.S.-bound conveyance;
  • prioritize implementation of these biometric requirements in program countries that have a significant number of nationals who have traveled to fight with, or to assist, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL); and
  • ensure within five years that such biometric information includes photographs and fingerprints.

DHS may determine that a program country is in compliance with such biometric requirements if the country implements an agreement meeting specified criteria.

Program fee provisions are revised.