E-Visa is a paperless system that incorporates state of the art Biometric technology and Radio Frequency Identification system to smooth immigration procedures and at the same time implement a foolproof security system that prevents fraudulent usage of travel documents to gain unlawful entry. The system uses a fingerprint reader to authenticate whether a person is who they claim to be by verifying their biometric details.
The United States government concerned with rising instances of cross border terrorism decided to set up an expert body to study ways and means to ramp up their archaic visa documentation procedures. The expert body found the then existing rules and procedures outdated and woefully inadequate to handle the requirements of the new milieu and suggested a revamping of the system. New rules and regulations were set up including the passing of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, which recommended the use of biometric based smart cards in the place of paper visas.
According to the law, those visiting the United States under the Visa Waiver Program will have to bear machine readable passports on their person at immigration. The e-Visa would contain a photograph of the bearer, personal information and selected biometric information in a 64 Kilo Byte chip embedded in the identity card. The identity card will be contained in a jacket specially designed to shield the information from unwarranted access. The e-Visa when brought in proximity to a scanner transmits the data to a central database. This information will then be authenticated at the entry point with the help of biometric fingerprint reader.
The Visa Waiver program is a special program of the United States Government that allows citizens of certain specified countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes without having to fulfill normal visa requirements. The program is valid for all the 50 states of the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Island. Only citizens of developed countries with high income and featuring high on the human development index can qualify for this program.
The Visa Waiver Program was introduced in 1986 and was modeled on Australia’s Electronic Travel Authority scheme. The scheme gave a boost to tourism in the United States and facilitated better utilization of consular resources to more pressing issues of the day. According to the program, the visitors would have to provide advance information of their visit to the authorities in the United States. The permission to visit will given electronically; however admittance will be reserved by the American Government and can be revoked if the situation so warrants.
Biometric technology like iris scanners, USB fingerprint readers, and facial scanners have helped governments curb the menace of terrorism and at the same time made travelling easier and more comfortable.