New US visa restrictions designed to combat terror could pose problems for European travellers.
Holders of dual-citizenship from Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, as well as those who have visited those countries since 2011 will be subject to new visa rules including increased scrutinization and no longer being eligible for a visa-waiver, even if holding a passport under which they would be normally free to enter the US without a formal visa process.
The House passed the bill in December, calling the current situation a ‘huge security gap’.
With many ISIS fighters travelling to Iraq and Syria before returning to the west, the new rules will see them undergo a lengthy vetting process before being issued a visa to enter the US.
The reaction from the EU was mixed, with some concerns that the restrictions were too all-encompassing and would unfairly impact citizens engaged in business and journalism, who have legitimate reasons to travel to the named countries.
Waves of refugees from Syria and neighbouring war-torn countries have flooded Europe in recent months, sparking concern that IS fighters may be amongst them. ISIS have claimed that they are in the process of infiltrating Europe, and will launch an attack ‘at the appropriate time’.
For now, it seems, travellers will have to proceed with caution regarding where they visit if a trip to the US is on their agenda anytime soon.