‘Bruneians can still enter US without visa’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
RECENT changes to visa requirements imposed by the US State Department will not affect most Bruneians wishing to travel to the United States in the near future.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, the spokesperson at the Embassy of the United States in Brunei Darussalam said that Bruneians wishing to travel to the United States for business or leisure may still be able to do so without having a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.
“Bruneians can still visit the United States visa-free for 90 days unless they have visited Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan since March 1, 2011 or hold dual citizenship from those countries,” said Dr Edward Findlay.
“In which case, it is still permissible for them to travel to the United States but they would now have to go through the normal process of obtaining a visa for their visit,” he said.
Under the new visa laws passed by lawmakers in the United States last month, citizens of 38 countries – including Brunei – who are eligible to travel visa-free to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program would require a visa if they have visited Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.
Travel authorisation for travel to the United States would also be withdrawn if travellers hold dual citizenship with the four aforementioned countries.
Dr Findlay said that the limited changes in the visa law were done to improve security measures in response to recent events around the world.
“Over the past few years and especially in light of the recent Paris attacks, the United States has decided to enhance the Visa Waiver Program to maintain national security while also allowing for legitimate travel at the same time,” he said.
However, Dr Findlay explained that certain people are exempted from the new ruling.
“For those who travel to the aforementioned countries in North Africa and the Middle East on official business, the changes to the Visa Waiver Program would not affect them,” he said.
“These include journalists, military personnel and government officials who are carrying out their duty on official business from the government,” he said.
Brunei is part of the Visa Waiver Program, which is a programme by the government of the United States which allows citizens of 38 countries to travel or transit to the United States for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.
The Brunei Times