Today, we are conducting a hearing on H.R. 3039, the Welcoming Business Travelers and Tourists to America Act. This legislation raises important issues, including how we balance our nation's security and counter-terrorism efforts with our desire to encourage increased tourism and more visitors from foreign countries.
H.R. 3039 requires the Secretary of State to process visas for Chinese, Indians and Brazilians within 12 days. The bill also requires the Secretary to conduct a pilot program using videoconferencing to interview visa applicants. Supporters believe videoconferencing should be used in remote areas far from a U.S. consulate office.
The bill also allows the Secretary to increase the period of visa validity for individuals from a certain country regardless of the reciprocal visa validity period for Americans traveling to that country.
I am looking forward to hearing from each of our witnesses and getting their assessments on these provisions contained in H.R. 3039.
As we learned from past terrorist attacks in the United States or from other plots that have been foiled, we can never let down our guard in terms of preventing the entry of terrorists. And our visa processing system plays a critical role in keeping terrorists out of our country. For these reasons, I am eager to better understand how this legislation will impact the screening of potential terrorists by the State Department and other government agencies, while also ensuring that law-abiding visitors can come to America for tourism or business.
I appreciate the hard work of the gentleman from Nevada on H.R. 3039 and look forward to his testimony.