GBTA Clarifies, Defends Visa Waiver Program

In the wake of President Trump's executive order and the imposed travel ban, there has been some confusion over the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, according to the Global Business Travel Association. The organization points specifically to Senator Chuck Schumer's (D-NY) claims on the Today Show that the program "allows people from France, Belgium - places where there are known terrorists - to come in, no questions asked."

In fact, GBTA pointed out in a statement, the Visa Waiver Program has some rigorous requirements, including the sharing of information between the U.S. and Western governments and a thorough screening process. Travelers must use a biometric, valid and current passport, have a clean criminal history and intend only to be on a short-term transit, tourism or business visit.

"The Visa Waiver Program continues to be the gold standard of security and efficiency in balancing the need to protect the American public while facilitating global business travel," said GBTA executive director and COO Michael McCormick in the statement. "With thousands of travelers flying every day, the program has been effective at facilitating the travel that fuels the global economy and generates jobs throughout the U.S., while ensuring public safety.

"While the rollout of the new travel ban has not been flawless and many questions remain, adding misinformation to the public debate is counterproductive and creates more confusion for business travelers and the flying public," McCormick continued. "I hope in the days ahead we can have greater clarity for the flying public both with the travel ban and the Visa Waiver Program."

GBTA currently is surveying its membership regarding the travel ban and will comment further when the results are available.