President Trump has announced that additional travel restrictions will be placed on travellers from countries who are not able to meet minimum information sharing requirements as part of his plan to protect against terrorism and international crime. These restrictions meet his campaign promise to increase national security as part of his “America First” policy.
Trump announced new minimum requirements in July, following a report from state department DHS in which the travel security procedures of nearly 200 countries were investigated. The resulting policy reinforces global vetting procedures which are designed to “validate traveller identities, prevent fraud and ensure individuals do not represent a national security or public safety threat”.
In the report, 47 countries were highlighted as not meeting the requirements, and 40 made the necessary improvements in the 50 days they were given to comply. The conditions include issuing reliable electronic passports, the sharing of criminal data, reporting lost/stolen passports and sharing data on known or suspected terrorists. Most countries in the world now meet the criteria. Travellers from countries that do not meet the conditions will be subject to restricted visa applications. The limitations range from blanket bans on travellers from North Korea and Syria, to restricting various visa categories from Libya, Chad, Somalia, Iran and Yemen.
The new requirements represent an adjustment to Trump’s original “travel ban”, an executive order banning entry for 90 days to travellers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, which was signed off in January 2017 amid widespread protest and criticism. Since then Trump has amended the policy to meet requirements from Federal Courts. The new form of Trump’s policy will come into force on 18th October and may be lifted if the 8 countries involved can prove that they have made the necessary changes to their policies.