|Law Offices of Janet J. Greathouse
Immigration and Nationality Law
|Uruguay's Participation in Visa Waiver Program Is Terminated
Recently, an evaluation of designation of four countries in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) has led to the termination of Uruguay as a participant, as of April 15, 2003. According to the Attorney General, the participation of Uruguay in the VWP is "inconsistent with U.S. interest in enforcing the immigration laws of the United States."
The VWP allows nationals of designated countries to apply for admission into the U.S. for up to 90 days as a nonimmigrant visitor for business or pleasure without obtaining a visa for a consular post. As part of the VWP, the Attorney General must conduct periodic evaluations of country participants to determine the effect of each country's participation on "the law enforcement and security interests of the United States."
The Attorney General conducted evaluations of Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Uruguay after the attacks of September 11, 2001. As a result, Italy's, Belgium's and Portugal's participation will remain. However, the Attorney General determined that Belgium will be allowed to continue on a provisional basis with another evaluation to be conducted in one year. With regard to Uruguay, the Attorney General determined that the country's participation has facilitated high risk travel to the U.S., finding that in 2002, Uruguayan nationals "were two to three times more likely than all nonimmigrants on average to have been denied admission at the border."
Thus, as of April 15, 2003, Uruguayan nationals wishing to enter the U.S. as a nonimmigrant visitor for business or pleasure must first obtain a nonimmigrant visa for the U.S. consular post. Those who entered lawfully under the VWP prior to this date and remain in compliance with the terms of their admission may remain until the authorized period of stay.
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