04:33 GMT29 May 2020
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    The US Department of Homeland Security announced that it is continuing implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 with the addition of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for individuals who have traveled to these countries.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States has added Libya, Somalia and Yemen to its list of countries of concern, restricting individuals’ visit to the United States under Visa Waiver Program if they have visited those countries, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in a statement on Thursday.

    "The Department of Homeland Security today announced that it is continuing its implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 with the addition of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries," the statement read.

    In January, DHS announced that foreign nationals who had travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria after March 1, 2011 would no longer be eligible to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. The restrictions also apply to people holding dual citizenship of the listed nations.

    After reviewing the program further with the US director of national intelligence and secretary of state, the DHS decided restrictions should also apply to individuals who had traveled to Libya, Somalia and Yemen since March 1, 2011, however, would not apply to dual nationals of those countries.

    The agency added that it would release an updated Electronic System for Travel Authorization this spring, which will "address exceptions for diplomatic- and military-related travel provided for in the Act."

    In December, President Barack Obama urged Congress to take actions to tighten the visa waiver program following the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. The latest restrictions by DHS, however, have been sharply criticized by both lawmakers and Americans over its broad interpretations specifically of dual nationals of listed countries.


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