Following a recent Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs between EU and U.S., the United States and the European Union agreed on the importance of advancing towards reciprocal visa free travel within their respective legal frameworks and welcomed the progress of the five EU Member States that are currently don’t fall under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) towards meeting the necessary requirements, in order to be considered for designation in the program.
At the moment, the following EU states don’t fall under the US visa waiver:
In order to be eligible for VWP, a country must meet various requirements, which include, but are not limited to:
- enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States;
- issuing e-passports;
- having a visitor (B) visa refusal rate of less than 3% percent;
- timely reporting of both blank and issued lost and stolen passports; and
- maintenance of high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, and document security standards.
Designation as a VWP country is at the discretion of the U.S. government.
ALL the five member states have maintained overstay stay below threshold of 3%, in fact, Croatia/Cyprus maintained less than 1%.
**What is a Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries* to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel and meet certain requirements, such as.
Travel Purpose Must be Permitted on a Visitor (B) Visa Must Be a Citizen or National of a VWP Designated Country (see the list on the right) Each traveler must have a valid ESTA Each traveler must have the Correct Type of Passport (valid for at least 6 months after your planned departure from the United States)
Under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, travelers in the following categories they are no longer eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and must obtain a visa prior to traveling to the United States as:
Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.