In a statement the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated, the United States is considering adding four countries to its visa waiver program allowing them to visit the country without a visa for up to 90 days.
“We have four candidates in the pipeline: Israel, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania,” said Mayorkas at a travel industry event. “We’re very, very focused on the program”.
Last month, the United States added Croatia to the visa waiver program.
Earlier on Tuesday, U.S. Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow had said, Croatia is a $100 million boost to the U.S. economy. “Each time you add one of these countries, the travel just booms,” said Dow.
In August, the White House had said, during a meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Israeli counterpart Naftali Bennett, Biden had emphasized that “his administration would strengthen bilateral cooperation with Israel in ways that would benefit both U.S. citizens and Israeli citizens, including by working together towards Israel’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program.”
In February, Mayorkas spoke with the European Commission’s Commissioner for Home Affairs and both “expressed their continued interest in maintaining the U.S.-EU Passenger Name Record Agreement and working with Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania to meet the qualifications for the Visa Waiver Program.”
Currently, there are 40 countries in the US VISA waiver program.
“These requirements include having a rate of non-immigrant visa refusals below 3%, issuing secure travel documents, and working closely with U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism authorities,” said the DHS last month.