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Tighter rules for international visas proposed

From Kelli Arena
CNN Justice Correspondent

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- International air travelers on flights that make short stopovers in the United States will be required to obtain a visa under proposed changes that would have to be approved by the White House, CNN has learned.

Government officials told CNN Tuesday that the step is intended to prevent entry into the United States by non-American travelers who might not qualify for a visa for a variety of reasons.

The move is partially in response to new intelligence suggesting terrorists might hijack planes in the United States as they travel through to other countries.

There is concern that airline customers might have to cancel flight plans because of the new rules, putting more financial pressure on airlines -- already hobbled by post-September 11 fears and the economic slowdown.

If approved by the president, the new rules could be announced as early as this week.

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