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InvestmentsU.S. considering adding Israel, Romania, Bulgaria to visa waiver program By Reuters

U.S. considering adding Israel, Romania, Bulgaria to visa waiver program By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Air vacationers make their well past an indication mandating face masks for all throughout the outbreak of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) at Phoenix worldwide airport in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas mentioned on Tuesday the United States is considering adding 4 international locations to its visa waiver program that enables residents to come to America with out a visa for a keep of up to 90 days.

“We have four candidates in the pipeline: Israel, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania,” Mayorkas mentioned on Tuesday at a journey business occasion. “We’re very, very focused on the program,” he added, saying it gives vital financial and safety advantages.

In September, the United States added Croatia to the visa waiver program. U.S. Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow mentioned on Tuesday adding Croatia is a $100 million increase to the U.S. financial system. “Each time you add one of these countries, the travel just booms,” Dow mentioned.

The White House mentioned in August https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/08/27/readout-of-president-joseph-r-biden-jr-s-meeting-with-prime-minister-naftali-bennett-of-israel after a gathering between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that Biden emphasised “his administration would strengthen bilateral cooperation with Israel in ways that would benefit both U.S. citizens and Israeli citizens, including by working together towards Israel’s inclusion in the Visa (NYSE:) Waiver Program.”

Mayorkas additionally met with Israel’s U.S. ambassador in August and mentioned the waiver situation.

In February, Mayorkas spoke with the European Commission’s Commissioner for Home Affairs and each “expressed their continued interest in maintaining the U.S.-EU Passenger Name Record Agreement and working with Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania to meet the qualifications for the Visa Waiver Program.”

To take part within the program, a rustic should meet necessities associated to counterterrorism, legislation enforcement, immigration enforcement, doc safety, and border administration.

There are presently 40 international locations within the program.

“These requirements include having a rate of nonimmigrant visa refusals below 3%, issuing secure travel documents, and working closely with U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism authorities,” DHS mentioned final month.

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