US considering adding Bulgaria, Romania & Cyprus to Visa Waiver Program

The United States is considering adding three European Union Member States – Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania – to its Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), which means the nationals of these countries may soon be able to travel to the US for tourism and business purposes visa-free.

Currently, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania are the last EU countries, the nationals of which need a visa to travel to the US for tourism and business, after the US added Croatia to its Visa Waiver Programme.

The move was announced by US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last Tuesday, on October 26, who revealed that aside from these three EU countries, Israel is also a candidate country for the VWP.

We have four candidates in the pipeline: Israel, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania,” Mayorkas announced during a travel industry event last Tuesday, Reuters reports.

The US VWP currently permits the citizens of 40 world countries, including here the 26 Schengen Area countries, Croatia and the UK, to travel to the US for tourism and business purposes without the need of applying for a short-term visa first, according to Schengen Visa Info.

The citizens of these countries only need to apply online for a travel authorization, which is known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The application for an ESTA is simple and quick, and travellers need to pay only an amount of $4.00, and once the application is approved, another $10.00 should be paid.

Generally, one ESTA authorization is valid for multiple entries into the US for a period of two years. However, each stay must not surpass the number of days permitted, which is 90 per entry. Those wishing to stay more than 90 days should apply for a visa.

In order for Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania to become part of the VWP, all three must meet some qualifying criteria set out by the US authorities.

For detailed information click here.

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