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Report on Visa Waiver Program

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently issued a report on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) which allows foreign visitors from certain countries to enter the U.S. without obtaining a visa. To participate in the VWP, a country must offer reciprocal privileges to U.S. citizens and its participation in the VWP may help promote better international relations, tourism and commerce, and lighten consular caseloads. To date, 36 countries participate in the VWP, including Australia, Japan, and the UK, to name a few. In FY2009, 16.2 million visitors entered the U.S. under the VWP, accounting for 50.5% of all foreign visitors. For the CRS’s full report on the VWP, including issues of security, adding countries to the VWP, lost and stolen passports, overstays, etc, see http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL32221.pdf.

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