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Immigration: Visa Waiver Pilot Program

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Publication Date: March 1998

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: 97-309

Topic: Population and demographics (Immigrants and aliens)


The Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP) allows aliens traveling from certain designated countries to come to the United States as temporary visitors without having the immigration documents normally required to enter the United States. Some maintain it fosters international travel to the United States and eases the workload of the consular offices abroad. Others observe that it by-passes the most important screening step of who is permitted to enter the United States, cautioning that it may inadvertently stimulate immigration violations. The program was scheduled to expire on September 30, 1997, but temporary extensions were included in both Continuing Resolutions. The Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary (CJS) FY1998 appropriations act (P.L. 105-119) contains an extension through April 30, 1998. Bills to formally extend the program have passed the Senate (S. 1178) and have been reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary (H.R. 2578). H.R. 2578 is expected to come to the House floor before the April recess.