Sunday, November 16, 2008

New EU countries getting US Visa Waiver Programme

The European Union citizens from more EU countries will be able to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme according to officials in Brussels.

“Beginning Jan. 12, 2009, eligible citizens or nationals from all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries must obtain approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to traveling to the United States under the VWP, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a November 13 statement. 

According to the US mission to the EU in Brussels, the DHS is scheduled to announce on November 17 its decision to add “seven allies to the list of countries authorized to participate in the VWP.”

The seven countries are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia. “We are especially pleased to welcome these allies into the Visa Waiver Program,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “Expanding the number of countries whose citizens can travel to the U.S. without a visa increases business and social ties between our countries and at the same time deepens cooperation on required security measures.”

“Beginning Nov. 17, eligible citizens or nationals from the new VWP countries may travel to the United States under the program provided they have an e-passport and an approved authorization via ESTA, a web-based system that determines the preliminary eligibility of visitors to travel under the VWP prior to boarding a carrier to the United States,” the statement from US mission added..

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