The President’s Waiver of Restrictions on the Visa Waiver Program

Hearing Date: February 10, 2016 3:00 pm 2154 Rayburn HOB

0210 Visa Waiver


• To examine and assess the impact of Congressional changes made to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to prevent terrorists from exploiting the program.
• To review steps taken by the Administration to waive the newly passed requirements.
• To consider vulnerabilities posed by dual nationals who seek to commit terrorist acts while utilizing passports issued by their different governments of nationality.


• In the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress enacted several changes to the VWP.
• These changes prevent foreign nationals who have traveled to Syria, Iraq, Iran, and other countries of concern from using the VWP.
• The changes would also prevent dual nationals of these countries and VWP countries from entering the United States.
• On January 21, 2016 the Administration announced it would use the limited law-enforcement exception in the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act to allow certain individuals who have traveled to Iran, Iraq and Syria to be issued waivers.


Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Honorable R. Gil Kerlikowske Commissioner, Customs and Border Protection U.S. Department of Homeland Security Document
Hilary Batjer Johnson Deputy Coordinator for Homeland Security, Screening, and Designations, Bureau of Counterterrorism U.S. Department of State Document
Ms. Jessica M. Vaughan Director of Policy Studies Center for Immigration Studies Document
Emanuele Ottolenghi, Ph.D. Senior Fellow Foundation for Defense of Democracies Document
Stephen Heifetz Partner Steptoe and Johnson LLP Document

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