Travel and Tourism Committee Update
January 25, 2012
Non-Immigrant Tourist Visas
President Obama last week announced he would make changes to policies regulating non-immigrant tourist visas prompted by numerous reports and calls for action. The United States has lost 6% of the market share of international tourists from 2000-2010 at the same time as the market was growing. Recognizing that the travel and tourism industry is an economic development juggernaut on communities across the country, President Obama has directed the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to develop and implement a plan to:
- Increase non-immigrant visa processing capacity in China and Brazil by 40% over the year.
- Ensure 80% of non-immigrant visa applicants are interviewed within 3 weeks of receipt of application, acknowledging resource and security issues might lead to specific exceptions.
- Increase efforts to expand the Visa Waiver Program.
- Expand recipricol recognition programs for expedited travel, such as the Global Entry program.
To read the Executive Order in its entirety please click here.