14 November 2008

US signs visa waiver program declaration with Romania

The US Department of Homeland Security signed an interim declaration with Romania this month that will eventually allow them to enjoy the benefits of the American Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

The signing of the declaration is a clear indication Romania is showing signs of common security and freedom values with America.  The declaration is a necessary precursor to helping Romanians secure visa-free access to the States and becoming a member of the VWP.

"I commend the Romanian government for its commitment to these security enhancements and our shared value of freedom," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.  "This achievement builds on the strong relationship our nations share and brings us closer to the day when the citizens of Romania can travel without a visa."

Homeland Security established the VWP two decades ago, and currently has 34 members.  Nationals from member countries can travel in the US for purposes of business or tourism for up to 90 days without a visa for America, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  Last month, President Bush announced the DHS added seven countries to the list including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea.

During August last year, the DHS reformed the conditions that allow new members to join the VWP, including better information sharing, particularly regarding terrorism, providing an efficient reporting system regarding lost/stolen passports, developing an air marshals programme and expanding operations for U.S. Federal Air Marshals.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, American Visa Bureau.

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