Source and full story: The Intercept
By: Murtaza Hussain
ON JANUARY 29,
Dr. Amin Shokrollahi was planning to do something he had done many times before: take a flight from his home in Switzerland to the United States. Shokrollahi, a dual German-Iranian citizen, is a renowned mathematician, computer scientist, and a professor at the prestigious École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne. Once in the U.S., he was to deliver an address at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSC) in San Francisco.
Days before his flight, however, when Shokrollahi checked the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s online website to confirm that his visa application was still in order, he received an unpleasant surprise. Due to a recent change to the Visa Waiver Program that targets dual citizens of Iran, Sudan, Iraq, and Syria, his permission to visit the United States had been changed to “not authorized.” Weeks before, the U.S. Congress had passed the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act,” a measure that effectively made European-Iranian dual citizens like Shokrollahi ineligible for visa-free travel to the United States.
Under normal circumstances, citizens of European Union countries can receive authorization to travel to the United States through the U.S. Customs Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) website. After filling out a short questionnaire and paying a $14 fee, the process is usually completed within seconds. The authorization typically lasts up to two years, or until the applicant applies for a new passport.