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White House Decision on U.S. Entry Requirements

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 25, 2017

Dear CEO Roundtable and Board Colleague:

The White House announced yesterday its decision on enhanced national security measures relating to entry into the United States. This follows an extensive review related to the President’s January executive order—and its implications for the travel industry.

In a presidential proclamation, the administration used baseline requirements developed over the summer to assess countries on their ability to meet “the minimum information the United States needs to validate traveler identities, prevent fraud, and ensure individuals do not represent a national security or public-safety threat.”

Current State of Play
Most countries meet the new baseline; however, eight nations were found to be non-compliant: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Iraqi nationals traveling to the United States may also be subject to additional scrutiny. Travel to the U.S. is still possible for some on the list, notably from Venezuela—which is among our top 20 inbound travel markets—where travel restrictions only apply to certain government officials and their families.

The restrictions being imposed on these eight countries are conditional and may be lifted as they work with the U.S. government.

Notably, the review process identified the U.S. Visa Waiver Program as a proven and effective “best practice” security partnership. It is heartening to see this endorsement for the VWP after years of educating leaders in Washington on the program's benefits as a national security tool that facilitates international travel.

Also today, the U.S. Supreme Court cancelled scheduled arguments on previous related rulings, asking lawyers to address “whether, or to what extent, the proclamation” now renders the case moot.

U.S. Travel Position
The administration is to be commended for taking a tailored approach, evaluating each country on its own merits and readiness to comply.

Though outright travel bans are a concern, security adjustments rooted in legitimate intelligence are a fact of life for travelers. It is the reality that we operate in today.

We will continue to call for the government to adopt an approach that balances security requirements with clear expressions of welcome toward international travelers.

Questions Concerning Implementation
It’s essential that these policies be clearly communicated and that there be both an incentive and a pathway for affected countries to bring themselves back into compliance. Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been effectively checking both those boxes. We are hopeful the government will take the necessary steps to clearly communicate the changes, so all who wish to visit have a clear understanding of their ability to enter.

For more information, please review the official White House FAQ.

We will continue our engagement with the administration on the critical topic of international travel to the United States.

I will keep you apprised of our work.

Roger J. Dow
President and CEO

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