Europe to fingerprint US visitors

Feb 13th, 2008, 03:17 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
<<< the American government now wants citizens of countries covered by the visa waiver program to register on line a couple of days before they fly to the USA so background checks can be made >>>

The proposal is that you'll need approval to travel to the US before you can even buy the plane ticket, so it's not a case of registering a couple of days before flying.

Effectively you'll need a visa even if you are from a VWP country
alanRow is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 03:55 AM
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All this angst....from the land of National I.D. Cards (Europe). Oh and Terrorist attacks since 9/11....U.S. 0 Europe ....still counting,..... any connection?
longboatkey is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 05:05 AM
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>>Europe's greatest money waster wants Britain (Europe's largest receiver of non-Europeans) to squander more money on pointlessly inconveniencing the general public.<<

>All this angst....from the land of National I.D. Cards (Europe). <<

Well, my understanding of the ID card issue in the UK is that the chief reason a universal biometric card and database was pushed so hard is that the US is demanding it in foreign passports.
PatrickLondon is online now  
Feb 13th, 2008, 05:17 AM
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alanR--Now all they need is the name. Wouldn't fingerprints that didn't match sometimes resolve the name issue in the traveller's favor as well as having the potential to cause a problem? I don't think it would add to problems--at worst a wash in the problem causing potential.

I'm not advocating that they take everyone's fingerprints, but I don't see it as being a negative of any significance in terms of falsely identifying someone as an evil tourist or an evil terrorist, whatever a turrist is.

In my case, they already have my prints on file anyway.
Jake1 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 05:38 AM
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I once was given a check written on a local bank -- not mine. I stopped by there to cash it. Since I didn't have an account there, they fingerprinted me right on the back of the check. When I told friends about that, some went ballistic. They couldn't believe a bank would treat me like such a criminal. Huh? They were merely protecting themselves. I didn't bat an eye. Why in the world would someone think that a safety measure like taking fingerprints is some horrible ordeal -- unless they ARE a criminal and it brings up vivid memories of a horrible arrest? Is fingerprinting painful? Does it cause some irreparable damage? Is it some incredible inconvenience? Sorry, I just don't get it.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Feb 13th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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"The proposal is that you'll need approval to travel to the US before you can even buy the plane ticket, so it's not a case of registering a couple of days before flying."

This is not reflected in any official document that I can find. And the Guardian article is vague. The act that outlined this requirement only mentions that the information be provided before traveling and states that the ETA can remain valid for up to 3 years. Indeed, there is nothing to suggest it will be dramatically different from what is currently required by the Aussies, and which no one ever whines about.

"I think the US has grudgingly allowed, for some sort of concessions on their part, the Czech Republic to join the visa waiver program but for some reason refuses to allow Poland."

As it seems you didn't read the article linked at the top or several subsequent posts, let me summarize:

1) The new program is specifically aimed at allowing countries like Poland to be included under the program, for exactly the reasons you mention. Currently, the system is based almost entirely on the risk of illegal immigration.

2) The Czech Republic is not yet covered under the VWP. The article suggests that they are very eager to meet all of the requirements that so many here have problems with, so that they can join. Presumably, countries like Poland and Greece will follow. This is mentioned in the second link in this thread. You can see a list of all countries covered under the VWP, here:

So, you seem to be complaining about a program that is trying to address the very same concerns that you are using to prop up your arguments against the program.

"To the best of my knowledge, Canada does not seem to share this same paranoia so prevelent through the current US administration;"

Really, then why does Canada require visas from Poles? And why do they also require visas just to transit the country?

"it means citizens of certain favored nations do not need a visa, it is waived if they fill out the green visa waiver form so in that sense they no longer need a visa."

What is this supposed to mean? How does this materially differ from other countries that doesn't require a visa for certain nationals? Do you understand what a visa is? Have you ever actually applied for a visa in a European country? I can assure you that it is a heck of a lot more work than filling out the green form. To claim that the VWP doesn't really mean that most Europeans do not need a visa is just ridiculous.

For reference, here is the UK landing card, which Americans must fill out when entering the UK:

And here is the US I-94W which UK citizens must fill out when entering the US.

Perhaps I am missing something, but the 7, relatively meaningless, yes/no questions on the I-94W do not rise to the level of materially different and is surely no real additional burden. Unless, of course, you are a drug dealer, a spy, a deadbeat spouse, have a contagious disease, or are trying to subvert the standard rules of entry. That the UK doesn't ask the question on the form doesn't mean that you are allowed to enter the UK if you meet any of the above, either. So, what is the difference if the questions are spelled out on the form or not?
travelgourmet is online now  
Feb 13th, 2008, 08:07 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
Travelgourmet, the "vague" bit of the Grauniad article is

"And within months the US department of homeland security is to impose a new permit system for Europeans flying to the US, compelling all travellers to apply online for permission to enter the country before booking or buying a ticket, a procedure that will take several days."

alanRow is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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alanRow: Fair enough. But I seriously doubt this will really come to fruition. Aside from the EU, the airlines are likely to oppose anything that prevents folks from buying tickets. I am willing to wager that this ends up as little different from the Australian system.
travelgourmet is online now  
Feb 13th, 2008, 08:47 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Even the Oz ETA can take a few days to come through - and there's no requirement to have one in order to buy a ticket.

I agree that "saner minds" will prevail if only because it will make it impossible for businessmen & workers from outside the US to make a trip at short notice
alanRow is offline  

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