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US authorities consider adding Romania and three other countries to Visa Waiver Program


US Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas said the United States is considering adding four countries to its Visa Waiver Program that allows citizens to come to America without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days, according to Reuters.

“We have four candidates in the pipeline: Israel, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. We’re very, very focused on the program,” said Mayorkas on Tuesday at a travel industry event saying it provides significant economic and security benefits.

In September, the United States added Croatia to the visa waiver program. US Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow stated “adding Croatia is a $100 million boost to the US economy. “Each time you add one of these countries, the travel just booms,” Dow said.

In February, Mayorkas spoke with the European Commission’s Commissioner for Home Affairs and both “expressed their continued interest in maintaining the US-EU Passenger Name Record Agreement and working with Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania to meet the qualifications for the Visa Waiver Program.”

To participate in the program, a country must meet requirements related to counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and border management.

There are currently 40 countries in the program.

“These requirements include having a rate of nonimmigrant visa refusals below 3%, issuing secure travel documents, and working closely with US law enforcement and counterterrorism authorities,” the US Department of Homeland Security said last month.