back to article EU, US plan 'clear to fly' checks for visa waiver revamp

The Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), which allows EU citizens visa-free entry to the United States, is to be 'modernised' into virtual oblivion, and replaced by far more invasive 'pre-authorisation' systems on both sides of the Atlantic. This is revealed in an exchange of letters between EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom (sic) & …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Fine so long as....

    the EU does excatly the same.

    Anyone from the US with the names Murphy, Fitzpatrick, fitzgerald etc must clearly be members of the IRA so will be refused entry to EU airspace. Anyone managing to enter, must be by definition a terrorist (as they bypassed security) will be put in a pink jumpsuit and bundled off to a concentration, sorry detention, camp, never to be seen again.

  2. Alex
    Thumb Down


    ...I wonder if they are being retards on purpose. *sigh*

  3. yeah, right.

    I like:

    This quote: "biometrically verify... without requiring [persons] to stop and/or exit their vehicles."

    Yes, because requiring a European passenger to step out of the airplane when he gets to the American 12 mile limit might be seen as very unfriendly. Unless the Americans think Europe is just south of Mexico and they can drive up?

  4. benito darder oliver


    Another reason to don't go there...

    And feel sorry for the ones who are trapped there inside...

  5. Steven Walker

    It won't affect me

    I will not go there. For five years I have refused to humiliate myself by going through the US bureaucratic nightmare and deal with gimlet faced thugs who treat every foreigner like a tourist.

    I had to pay extra to fly to South America via Madrid rather than change flights in Miami. Maybe I will visit again one day, after they have come to their senses. Could be a long wait!

  6. Eduard Coli

    Mark of the beast

    Perhaps he has in the back of his head that this majik system will we something like RFID in the flesh, literally. If they presume that when you are chipped that the RFID chip in your foot/hand/forehead actually ID you then they just need to put readers at entry ways or even in the vehicle in which you are being transported.

  7. Martin Usher

    Its more like a laser scan

    What they've been experimenting with here is the ability to get decent scans of passengers in cars using an infra-red laser. The only use I've heard of it for so far is trying to figure out whether the second occupant of a car in a car-pool lane is a real person or not but its early days yet.

    Filling out forms and standing in line is soooo last year.

    (BTW -- Getting through US immigration sucks even if you have a US passport. The only advantage is that they can't hassle you anything like as much as they can the alien untermensch. Sorry about that, but then we have about as much control over our government at the moment as you have over yours.)(They've really gone overboard with this "Border Protection" business.)

  8. julian

    Entering the US a Real Pain

    Over the last few years it has become increasingly more painful to enter the US and is as bad as it was in the 80's. The main difference is that the Immigration officials are on the whole pretty pleasant now - though I did encounter one jumped up no hoper making up for his little one recently - even though the queues are up to 1.5 hours.

    However it seems to be reciprocal and many of my US friends are finding entering the UK is getting increasingly difficult with queues of up to 3 hours and quite officious officials.

    I guess travelling is just getting harder so the greens should be happy.

  9. lglethal Silver badge

    Cant we just...

    Ban everyone from travelling to America and ban all americans from leaving their country? They'd be safer, we'd be safer and the whole world would be a lot happier!

  10. Jack Prichard

    As long as we are talking 'magic beams'...

    Ok, what we want to do is contect a person with their ID card/chip/whatever right?

    So, we need something we can measure at a distance and compare with data on the chip. Plenty of options.

    Could be a chemical sniffer, maybe a isolate some particularity in a persons heart rate that is constant even with changes induced by exercise (stress, whatever), special ink in tatoos with some element that is detectabe, or that good old fav RFID implanted in the body somewhere it is hard to dig out without injury.

    Don't want to submit to chipping, tatooing or whatever? Cool, no LA holiday for you! Of course this kind of thing would never happen, and the US would never torture terror suspects. Yeah, right.

    Now, don't get me wrong I think this is all a really bad idea and am glad to live in a country (New Zealand) where this kind of stuff is currently illegal but as someone famous said "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance"


  11. Yammitor

    Warning....You are entering a Police State

    Warning....You are entering a Police State .Surrender all rights before proceeding on your journey.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    It is time that Europe does what Brazil does...

    ... Whatever the USA does to its citizens, it does to US citizens. And when they complain, point out the fact that their treatment is EXACTLY what the US government does to EU citizens.

    Except... in Brazil they didn't have the technology, so when fingerprinting was enforced, Brazil made do with the classic "roll each finger on ink, then print onto paper" method, which took a while longer and had the effect of making US citizens feel like criminals (hey, it's only fair).

    If the US wants to bully the rest of the world, then it's time the rest of the world starts bullying the US.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    OK - so let's have visas

    Why not, once every 10 years, get a visa. Go to the US embassy, let them do some thorough checks and interview you. OK, they have guns in the US embassy in London and they have no sense of humour, but once a decade isn't too bad. Oh, and it's got to be free, like the visa waiver program was. They can fingerprint you, let the FBI or the CIA do background checks, who cares.

    Then, if they grant you a visa, they should make entry into the US painless (you know, nice polite staff who are not rude and think you are the scum of the earth). You'll need a visa every time you change your passport in case you've become an extremist.

    Of course, this is of primary benefit to the frequent traveller - so perhaps have two systems. Just make it less painless for those who have to go to the US every month.

    The "EU" cannot do the same as it's not one country... some EU states will let in anyone !

  14. Anonymous Coward


    I swear that someone in US government has a speech impediment. Since the "War on Terrorism" has now become a "War on Tourism". (pronounce with American accent!)

    I've already had my fun and games with DHS "brutes" exerting aggressive nature while trying to enter their country to do work. I won't be going back for holiday reasons that's "fer-sure" !!

  15. Matt


    I'm just back from China, strange how the "evil empire" was a much nicer place to visit than the US (or the UK for that matter). hey treated us like tourists they wanted to welcome not criminals. The customs/immigration officers were pleasant and efficient.

    Welcome to the "free world"..........

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Implement Reciprocity

    "Do unto others as they do unto you".

    This whole system is getting stupid. If the US want the play silly barstewards, then let them. Just do exactly the same back and see how long it lasts when they have massive queues, expensive technology to install etc etc.

    All this really makes Disneyland Paris attracive for my kids.

  17. Steve
    Thumb Down

    Re: lets just have visas

    Last time I checked, citizens of countries covered by the visa waiver scheme couldn't get visas ("there's no need, Sir") unless there were special circumstances, like commercial business travel.

    Frankly it takes longer, and is more hassle, to get through Heathrow domestic security these days than to go through US immigration. I'd sooner avoid Heathrow than the US.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Air travel is a pain, period

    If you're traveling in the US - Domestic, International; foreigner, citizen, it doesn't matter, you are in for a painful experience. Stupid rules about shoes, liquids, nail clippers, and idiotic questions:

    "Has your luggage ever been out of your possession?" Yes, just now when you made me put it on a conveyor belt to be X-rayed, Genius.

    "Are you carrying any weapons, or something that can be used as a weapon?"

    In the right hands, anything, even a sheet of paper, *can* be used as a weapon, Nimrod. Haven't you even seen MacGyver, or a Jackie Chan movie? So the correct answer to the question is "Of course." And that's not to mention all the aircraft parts at hand - ever been smacked upside the head with a seatbelt buckle?

    If someone wanted to kill or injure other passengers, all the TSA morons in existence couldn't stop it, no matter what screening they did.

  19. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    An idea

    Ive just thought of an idea. When visiting dignitaries arrive to visit a country make them have to stand in cue and go through the airport at the same speed as the rest of us! No diplomatic cue, no back door entrance, no meeting people on the tarmac and ushering them out a side gate. Nope, its all "I'm sorry Mr President you haven't filled out your entry form, please fill one out and then join the back of the cue." Or i'm sorry Prime Minister can you please remove your shoes and place them on the conveyer belt. Now has your luggage been out of your site since you packed it?"

    All it would take is one missed meeting and one rectal exam of a head of state for the system to be returned to a bit of bloody common sense!

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