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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

[Federal Register: March 31, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 61)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 15991-15992]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr31mr10-1]                         


========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
week.

========================================================================



[[Page 15991]]



DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

8 CFR Part 217

RIN 1601-AA54

 
Designation of Greece for the Visa Waiver Program

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, DHS.

ACTION: Final rule; technical amendment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Citizens and eligible nationals of participating Visa Waiver 
Program countries may apply for admission to the United States at U.S. 
ports of entry as nonimmigrant aliens for a period of ninety days or 
less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant 
visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under 
applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. On March 4, 2010, the 
Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of 
State, designated Greece as a country that is eligible to participate 
in the Visa Waiver Program. Accordingly, this rule updates the list of 
countries authorized to participate in the Visa Waiver Program by 
adding Greece.

DATES: This final rule is effective on April 5, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gianfranco Corti, Department of 
Homeland Security, Office of Policy, (202) 282-8732.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

A. The Visa Waiver Program

    Pursuant to section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act 
(INA), 8 U.S.C. 1187, the Secretary of Homeland Security (the 
Secretary), in consultation with the Secretary of State, may designate 
certain countries as Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries if certain 
requirements are met. Those requirements include, without limitation: 
(1) Meeting the statutory rate of nonimmigrant visa refusal for 
nationals of the country; (2) a government certification that it issues 
machine-readable passports that comply with internationally accepted 
standards; (3) a U.S. government determination that the country's 
designation would not negatively affect U.S. law enforcement and 
security interests; (4) an agreement to report, or make available 
through other designated means, to the U.S. government information 
about the theft or loss of passports; (5) government acceptance for 
repatriation any citizen, former citizen, or national not later than 
three weeks after the issuance of a final order of removal; and (6) an 
agreement with the United States to share information regarding whether 
citizens or nationals of the country represent a threat to the security 
or welfare of the United States or its citizens.
    The INA also sets forth requirements for continued eligibility and, 
where appropriate, probation and/or termination of program countries.
    The designated countries in the VWP include Andorra, Australia, 
Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, 
France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, 
Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, 
New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, 
Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and 
the United Kingdom.\1\ See 8 CFR 217.2(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The United Kingdom refers only to British citizens who have 
the unrestricted right of permanent abode in the United Kingdom 
(England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and 
the Isle of Man); it does not refer to British overseas citizens, 
British dependent territories' citizens, or citizens of British 
Commonwealth countries.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Citizens and eligible nationals of VWP countries may apply for 
admission to the United States at U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant 
visitors for a period of ninety days or less for business or pleasure 
without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are 
otherwise eligible for admission under applicable statutory and 
regulatory requirements. To travel to the United States under the VWP, 
an alien must be from a participating country and must satisfy the 
following:
    (1) Be seeking entry as a tourist for ninety days or less;
    (2) Be a national of a program country;
    (3) Present an electronic passport or a machine-readable passport 
issued by a designated VWP participant country to the air or vessel 
carrier before departure; \2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ For countries designated as VWP member countries prior to 
November 17, 2008, passports issued before October 26, 2006 [see 8 
U.S.C. 1732(c)(2)], need not contain the electronic chip that 
includes the biographic and biometric information of the passport 
holder provided the passports comply with the International Civil 
Aviation Organization's machine-readable standards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) Execute the required immigration forms;
    (5) If arriving by air or sea, arrive on an authorized carrier;
    (6) Not represent a threat to the welfare, health, safety or 
security of the United States;
    (7) Have not violated U.S. immigration law during a previous 
admission under the VWP;
    (8) Possess a round-trip ticket;
    (9) Waive the right to review or appeal a decision regarding 
admissibility or to contest, other than on the basis of an application 
for asylum, any action for removal; and
    (10) Obtain an approved travel authorization via the Electronic 
System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in advance of travel. For more 
information about the ESTA, please see the interim final rule at 73 FR 
32440 (June 9, 2008), and implementing notice at 73 FR 67354 (November 
13, 2008). See Sections 217(a) and 217(b) of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)-(b). See also 8 CFR part 217.
    DHS, in consultation with the Department of State, has evaluated 
the country of Greece for VWP designation to ensure that it meets the 
requirements set forth in section 217 of the INA, as amended by section 
711 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 
2007 (9/11 Act). The Secretary has determined that Greece has satisfied 
the statutory requirements to be a VWP country; therefore, the 
Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has designated 
Greece as a program country.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ The Secretary of State nominated Greece for participation in 
the VWP on August 31, 2007.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This final rule adds Greece to the list of countries authorized to 
participate in

[[Page 15992]]

the VWP. Accordingly, beginning April 5, 2010, citizens and eligible 
nationals from Greece may apply for admission to the United States at 
U.S. ports of entry as nonimmigrant visitors for a period of ninety 
days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a 
nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for 
admission under applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

III. Statutory and Regulatory Requirements

A. Administrative Procedure Act

    Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(b)), an agency 
may waive the normal notice and comment requirements if it finds, for 
good cause, that they are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to 
the public interest. The final rule merely lists a country that the 
Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of 
State, has designated as a VWP eligible country in accordance with 8 
U.S.C. 1187(c). This amendment is a technical change simply updating 
the list of VWP eligible countries. Therefore, notice and comment for 
this rule are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest because 
the rule has no substantive impact, is technical in nature, and relates 
only to management, organization, procedure, and practice. For the same 
reasons, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), a delayed effective date is 
not required.
    This final rule is also excluded from the rulemaking provisions of 
5 U.S.C. 553 as a foreign affairs function of the United States, 
because it advances the President's foreign policy goals, involves a 
bilateral agreement that the United States has entered into with 
Greece, and directly involves relationships between the United States 
and its alien visitors. Accordingly, DHS is not required to provide 
public notice and an opportunity to comment before implementing the 
requirements under this final rule.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 603(b)), as amended 
by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996 
(SBREFA), requires an agency to prepare and make available to the 
public a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effect of a 
proposed rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small 
organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions) when the agency is 
required ``to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking for any 
proposed rule.'' Because this rule is being issued as a final rule, on 
the grounds set forth above, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required under the RFA.
    DHS has considered the impact of this rule on small entities and 
has determined that this rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The individual aliens 
to whom this rule applies are not small entities as that term is 
defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6). Accordingly, there is no change expected in 
any process as a result of this rule that would have a direct effect, 
either positive or negative, on a small entity.

C. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed 
necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 
1995.

D. Executive Order 12866

    This amendment does not meet the criteria for a ``significant 
regulatory action'' as specified in Executive Order 12866.

E. Executive Order 13132

    The rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on 
the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on 
the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels 
of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive 
Order 13132, DHS has determined that this final rule does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
federalism summary impact statement.

F. Executive Order 12988 Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) 
and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

List of Subjects in 8 CFR Part 217

    Air carriers, Aliens, Maritime carriers, Passports and visas.

Amendments to the Regulations

0
For the reasons stated in the preamble, DHS amends part 217 of title 8 
of the Code of Federal Regulations (8 CFR part 217), as set forth 
below.

PART 217--VISA WAIVER PROGRAM

0
1. The general authority citation for part 217 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  8 U.S.C. 1103, 1187; 8 CFR part 2.
* * * * *

0
2. In section 217.2 the definition of the term ``Designated country'' 
in paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  217.2  Eligibility.

    (a) * * *
    Designated country refers to Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, 
Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, 
Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, 
Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, 
Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak 
Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 
The United Kingdom refers only to British citizens who have the 
unrestricted right of permanent abode in the United Kingdom (England, 
Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of 
Man); it does not refer to British overseas citizens, British dependent 
territories' citizens, or citizens of British Commonwealth countries. 
After May 15, 2003, citizens of Belgium must present a machine-readable 
passport in order to be granted admission under the Visa Waiver 
Program.
* * * * *

Janet Napolitano,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2010-7211 Filed 3-30-10; 8:45 am]
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