The US is considering adding Israel, Romania and Bulgaria to the visa waiver program

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WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alexander Mayorkas said Tuesday that the United States is considering adding four countries to its visa waiver program that allows citizens to come to America without a visa to to a stay of up to 90 days.

“We have four candidates waiting: Israel, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania,” Mayorkas said on Tuesday at a travel industry event. “We are very, very focused on the program,” he added, saying the program offers significant economic and security benefits.

In September, the United States added Croatia to the visa waiver program. U.S. Travel Association Executive Director Roger Dow said Tuesday that he added that Croatia is a $ 100 million boost for the U.S. economy. “Every time you add one of those countries, the trips just grow,” Dow said.

In February, Mayorkas spoke with the European Commission’s Commissioner for Home Affairs and the two “expressed their continued interest in maintaining the US-EU passenger name registration agreement and working with Bulgaria, Croatia , Cyprus and Romania to meet the requirements for the visa waiver program. “

To participate in the U.S. visa waiver program, a country must meet the requirements related to the fight against terrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and security management. borders.

There are currently 40 countries in the program.

“These requirements include having a non-immigrant visa denial rate below 3%, issuing secure travel documents, and working closely with U.S. police and counterterrorism authorities,” DHS said last month.

Report by David Shepardson Edited by Marguerita Choy

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