Visa Waiver Provisions Included in Government Funding Bill

Late Tuesday night, the House of Representatives unveiled the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending package which would allocate federal funding to programs and agencies to fund the government through the 2016 fiscal year. One of two major bills that are expected to be passed before the holiday break, the massive spending package includes changes to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that we’ve previously told you about.

Language from the Visa Waiver Program Improvement & Terrorist Travel Prevention Act (H.R. 158) was incorporated into final draft of the omnibus bill. Provisions drawn from Rep. Candice Miller’s (R-MI) bill would strengthen the VWP by increasing intelligence and information sharing between member countries. The legislation would also require more secure electronic passports for all VWP travelers and would require all VWP partner countries to issue compliant passports (containing biographic and biometric information) and verify those passports at all ports of entry.

The House is expected to vote on the omnibus this week, where it is expected to pass with bipartisan support. The Senate will then consider the bill and is expected to pass the measure before the holiday recess.