07 February 2013

Polish Visa Waiver Program deal back on the table

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Legislation which would allow Polish tourists to visit the country without the need for a US visa has been introduced in the Houses of Congress.

US visa

Polish tourists currently require a US visa to visit the United States.

Membership of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows passport holders of membership countries to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visa, is a much coveted status. The UK and Ireland - which are both already members - were joined recently by Taiwan but several countries, including Poland, are vying to be the next to join.

Republican Senator Mark Kirk has introduced a draft law into the Senate which advocates for Poland's accession to the scheme. Bipartisan pair Mike Quigley and Aaron Schock introduced the same legislation into the House of Representatives.

"Now is the time to stand behind our Polish allies and allow their citizens visa-free travel to the US, a privilege that nearly all of our other close democratic allies have enjoyed for years," said Senator Kirk.

Legislation has previously been introduced supporting Poland's membership to the VWP but, despite a personal endorsement from President Barack Obama, did not manage to make it through reading.

The US's former Ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein said in October President Obama was 'very committed to the visa waiver program for Poles'.

Mr Feinstein's current counterpart, Poland's Ambassador to the US Ryszard Schneft said he was 'moderately optimistic' it could be done.

"I know it is a long and complex process, but in spite of that, I'm moderately optimistic," said Ambassador Schneft.

"Our main strengths are Poland's economic success, political stability and credibility in our activity in the international arena."

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.

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