The U.S. Department of State sent out a cable on July 12, 2017 to all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, instructing them to inform their host governments regarding new standards pertaining to U.S. travel and immigration. These new standards that have been set out in the State Department’s cable apply to 191 countries and have to be met with by the foreign governments failing which certain categories of designated individuals could face travel sanctions.
The new standards pertain to the integrity of identity documents and sharing of information by foreign governments such as: issuance of electronic passports that conform to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) specifications which include facial biometrics, regularly reporting lost/stolen passports to INTERPOL, sharing of information on individuals who are known or suspected to be terrorists, making available criminal history information on its nationals, etc.
These new standards are to be shared with the foreign governments within 50 days of the date of the cable, i.e., by August 31, 2017. The posts have to ask the foreign governments to provide the requested information or develop a plan to do so, after which the posts are required to assess and share with the State Department any mitigating factors or specific interests that should be considered when determining whether to impose travel sanctions.
Zeenat Phophalia, Esq., Senior Associate