House, Senate lighten visa regulations for businessmen and government officials

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act of 2011, S. 1487, cleared the Senate unanimously with no debate Thursday evening and would authorized the Department of Homeland Security to issues special travel cards that waive visa requirements for most Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member countries including Australia, Canada and Japan.  

According to the legislation, eligible persons include “business leaders and United States Government officials who are actively engaged in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation business."

Earlier in the week the House approved a similar measure, H.R. 2042, in a voice vote with minimum debate. At the time, Rep. Bob Turner (R-N.Y.), who serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke out in favor of the legislation.

"[This program] is designed to facilitate commerce by allowing fast and efficient travel for eligible business people and government officials in the Asia pacific region," said Turner prior to that vote. "This legislation will allow eligible U.S. business travelers to apply for trusted travel cards for expedited entry into certain Asian-Pacific nations.

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