Society

U.S. Tightens Visa Waiver Program In Wake Of Paris Attacks

The logo of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is reflected in a man's glasses. Photo by REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

The White House announced a series of changes to the U.S. visa waiver program on Monday to add more screening for travelers from 38 countries around the world allowed to enter the United States without visas.

The accelerated changes were prompted by the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris by Islamic State militants, which have heightened security concerns among Americans.

The Department of Homeland Security will immediately collect more information from travelers about past visits to "countries constituting a terrorist safe haven" and also will look at pilot programs for collecting biometric information like fingerprints from visa waiver travelers, the White House said in a statement.

The department will also ask Congress for additional powers, including the authority to hike fines for air carriers that fail to verify passport data, the White House said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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