Washington, D.C.--The Polish American Congress
(PAC) has received the Department of Homeland Security's
announcement for streamlining the entry process of foreign visitors
to the United States while simultaneously upholding current security
The new measures introduced in the Joint Vision
initiative aimed at facilitating visitor travel to the United States
will affect the increasingly large number of Polish residents who
enter the United States on non-immigrant visas each year. More than
161,000 visited the United Statesin 2004, increasing from 145,000 in
2003, and 140,000 in 2002.
The Joint Vision for Secure Borders and Open
Doors in the Information Age was introduced by Secretary of State
Rice and Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff on January 17,
2006, and comprises an extensive update of the US-VISIT program.
US-VISIT currently regulates entry and exit procedures for all
foreign nationals visiting the United States on non-immigrant visas
or as members of the Visa Waiver Program. Three main categories make
up the new Joint Vision initiative: improvements in technology and
efficiency; the introduction of advanced, updated travel documents;
and the more accurate and efficient screening of visitors in order
to ensure national security.
These new measures include expanding the length
of student visas; using videoconferencing for visa interviews
instead of requiring visa applicants to travel to an embassy;
creating expedited business visas; issuing more specific welcome
information at airports for when visitors arrive; and making the
entry/exit process overall more transparent. The Joint Vision
initiative also includes the introduction of biometric and
computer-readable passports as well as a system of inexpensive
"passport cards" for American citizens crossing the country's land
borders are key elements of this part of the Joint Vision agenda.
Finally, the new US-VISIT initiative calls for a
wider and more streamlined process for screening potential visitors.
In particular, measures such as combining databases and increasing
information sharing between federal government agencies as well as
with friendly foreign governments intend to cut back on the time
needed to investigate visa-applicants with possible terrorist ties.
More information about the US-VISIT program is
available at the Department of Homeland Security US-VISIT Web site