26 September 2012

Poland prompts President Obama on US Visa Waiver Program

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Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has said he has reminded US President Barack Obama over his country's 'promise' to introduce the Visa Waiver Program to Polish citizens.

US visa

President Komorowski said he reminded President Obama of his 2008 promise to add Poland to the US Visa Waiver Program.

The US Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of 36 countries, including the UK Ireland, to enter the country without the need for a full US visa for up to 90 days.

Poland is one of a few countries expected to join the agreement in the near future, an expectation was strengthened in 2008 when the then-newly elected President Obama promised to add the country to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

However, despite the White House confirming that the two presidents would not be having one-to-one talks, President Komorowski felt the need to push the issue during the recent UN General Assembly session in New York.

"The conversation was an opportunity to remind the President of the US of his commitments on visa-free travel for Poles," said President Komorowski.

Poland remains just one of four EU states which are not part of the VWP and President Komorowski said the upcoming presidential election in the US must "open the way for success" between the two countries but that Poland couldn't place all its hopes on a Democratic victory in November.

"We must be aware that voting [on the visa issue] needs votes not only from Democrats, but also from Republicans."

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who has championed Poland's accession to the VWP, says the time is right to expand the program, and has the bi-partisan support to see it through.

"We've reached the point now where we have a trusting relationship and we want to build on that relationship in the future," said the senator from Illinois.

"Many Republican senators have said to me after this election we need to sit down and do this."

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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