New twist in US visa process

As of June 14, all Greeks aged 14-79 wishing to travel to the United States will have their fingerprints taken as part of the visa application process, the American Embassy in Athens said yesterday. An embassy announcement said the new «fraud prevention measure» is to be implemented all over the world, including the European Union, by October 26. Since January, Greeks visiting America have been fingerprinted and photographed by immigration officials at US airports and harbors, in a measure intended to fight terrorism. The move drew a diplomatic complaint from Athens. The embassy announcement said the «finger-scan» is odorless, inkless and easy to do, but will make the visa application process longer. The result is printed on to the visa, together with the applicant’s photo. «Once at the border, US officials will compare the finger-scans on the visa with those done at the port of entry, to verify the identity of the traveler,» the announcement added. Greeks are charged a non-refundable visa application fee of $100 (81 euros).