Department of State, Executive (31 - 40 of 50 items)
Visa Waiver Program: Actions Are Needed to Improve Management of the Expansion Process, and to Assess and Mitigate Program Risks
GAO-08-967: Published: Sep 15, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 2008.
The Visa Waiver Program, which enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without first obtaining a visa, has many benefits, but it also has risks. In 2006, GAO found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) needed to improve efforts to assess and mitigate these risks. In August 2007, Congress passed the 9/11 Act, which provides DHS with the authority to consi...
Border Security: State Department Should Plan for Potentially Significant Staffing and Facilities Shortfalls Caused by Changes in the Visa Waiver Program
GAO-08-623: Published: May 22, 2008. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2008.
Under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), citizens from 27 countries can travel to the United States visa free. Terrorism concerns involving VWP country citizens have led some to suggest eliminating or suspending the program, while the executive branch is considering adding countries to it. Legislation passed in 2007 led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop its Electronic System for Tra...
Visa Waiver Program: Limitations with Department of Homeland Security's Plan to Verify Departure of Foreign Nationals
GAO-08-458T: Published: Feb 28, 2008. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 2008.
The Visa Waiver Program, which enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without first obtaining a visa, has many benefits, yet also presents security, law enforcement, and illegal immigration risks. In August 2007, Congress passed legislation that provides the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the authority to expand the program to additional countries wh...
Observations on Implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
GAO-08-274R: Published: Dec 20, 2007. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 2008.
Securing the nation's borders has taken on added importance since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. For years, millions of citizens of the United States, Canada, and Bermuda could enter the United States from certain parts of the Western Hemisphere using a wide variety of documents, including a driver's license issued by a state motor vehicle administration or a birth certificate, or in...
Combating Terrorism: Law Enforcement Agencies Lack Directives to Assist Foreign Nations
GAO-08-144T: Published: Oct 4, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 4, 2007.
Three U.S. national strategies, developed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, directed U.S. law enforcement agencies (LEA) to focus on the prevention of terrorist attacks. The strategies called for LEAs to intensify their efforts to help foreign nations identify, disrupt, and prosecute terrorists. This testimony addresses (1) the guidance for LEAs to assist foreign nations to identify, disrupt, and p...
Border Security: Security of New Passports and Visas Enhanced, but More Needs to Be Done to Prevent Their Fraudulent Use
GAO-07-1006: Published: Jul 31, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2007.
Travel documents are often used fraudulently in attempts to enter the United States. The integrity of U.S. passports and visas depends on the combination of well-designed security features and solid issuance and inspection processes. GAO was asked to examine (1) the features of U.S. passports and visas and how information on the features is shared; (2) the integrity of the issuance process for the...
Process for Admitting Additional Countries into the Visa Waiver Program
GAO-06-835R: Published: Jul 28, 2006. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 2006.
The Visa Waiver Program enables citizens of 27 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. The program was created to promote the effective use of government resources and to facilitate international travel without jeopardizing U.S. national security. Indeed, in fiscal year 2004, more than 15 million travelers e...
Observations on Efforts to Implement the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative on the U.S. Border with Canada
GAO-06-741R: Published: May 25, 2006. Publicly Released: May 25, 2006.
Securing the U.S. border has received increasing attention since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. For years, U.S. and Canadian citizens have crossed the northern border using documents such as driver's licenses or birth certificates or in some cases without showing any documentation. Border crossings are commonplace; in 2005, for example, an estimated 13 million U.S. citizens crossed t...
Border Security: Strengthened Visa Process Would Benefit from Additional Management Actions by State and DHS
GAO-05-994T: Published: Sep 13, 2005. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 2005.
In adjudicating a visa application, Department of State (State) consular officers are on the front line of defense against those whose entry would likely be harmful to U.S. national interests. In October 2002, we identified shortcomings and made recommendations on the role of national security in the visa process. This testimony discusses our report issued today on actions taken since our 2002 rep...
Border Security: Strengthened Visa Process Would Benefit from Improvements in Staffing and Information Sharing
GAO-05-859: Published: Sep 13, 2005. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 2005.
GAO reported in October 2002 that the visa process needed to be strengthened as an antiterrorism tool and recommended that the Secretary of State, in consultation with appropriate agencies, (1) develop a clear policy on the role of national security in the visa process, (2) create more comprehensive guidance on how consular officers should screen against potential terrorists, (3) fundamentally rea...