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New U.S. travel requirements take effect

  |   June 3, 2008 at 2:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) -- U.S. security officials say they will soon impose a 72-hour prior notification requirement for travelers coming in from countries where visas aren't required.

The new rule means that passengers from most Western European nations, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and others whose citizens don't need visas to visit the United States will now be required to register with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at least 72 hours prior to their visit, The Financial Times said in a report Tuesday.

U.S. officials said the rule will become mandatory in January and that registration can be accomplished through travel agents, airline Web sites or through a special U.S. government Web site, the Times said.

Part of the rationale behind the new requirements are to dissuade homegrown European terrorists from traveling freely to the United States, such as Richard Reid, a British citizen who smuggled a "shoe bomb" onto an airliner. Reid, like French citizen and convicted Sept. 11, 2001, conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui did not need visas to enter the country, the newspaper said.

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