US lawmakers on Thursday unveiled a modest plan to prevent travellers who have visited countries known as hotbeds of "terrorist activity" from benefiting from visa-free entry to the United States.
Currently, visitors from 38 mainly stable countries friendly to the United States can make short tourist visits without a visa if they fill in a simple online waiver form before their flight.
But in the wake of last month's attacks in Paris -- carried out by French and Belgian nationals -- both President Barack Obama and his Republican rivals in Congress are looking to crack down.
- Pointing out hotbed areas -
The administration has already said that henceforth travellers who have visited Syria, Iraq, Somalia and other known militant hotspots would have to declare that fact while registering to visit.
Now, under a law proposed Thursday in the US House of Representatives, they would also have to apply for a full visa at a US consulate abroad with its screening process before coming to the United States.
The draft law does not got as far as a measure earlier proposed in the Senate, but it will raise less concern in the US tourism industry and is thus more likely to pass and receive presidential approval.
House speaker Paul Ryan said Representative Candice Miller's bill would come to a vote next week, and Republican majority leader Kevin McCarthy said he fully expected it to become law "as soon as possible."
The law will also require travellers under the waiver program to carry fraud-resistant passports with a biometric data chip, something all European passports have been issued with since 2009.