U.S. to Mandate Online Registration for Visa-Free Visitors

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff this week said the government would begin requiring visitors traveling on the visa waiver program to register their biographical details online at least three days before they travel. The changes will be phased in starting in August, with a mandatory ruling to go into effect by January 12.

The United States currently allows nationals from 27 countries to enter the country without a visa, including most of Western Europe, Australia and Japan. Another eight countries, including South Korea and Hungary, are expected to be added to the visa waiver program soon.

Visa waiver visitors are currently asked to fill out information forms when they arrive, the new rule requires visitors to register once every two years, Chertoff said. European Union officials have unveiled a similar program for visa-free travelers to the EU.