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ESTA Finally Available For Citizens Of Poland

Poland has joined the Visa Waiver Program, and as of November 11, 2019, Polish citizens can apply for ESTA and travel under the Visa Waiver Program. Are you a Polish citizen traveling to the Unites States? If yes, then visiting the U.S. just became much easier.

President Andrzej Duda of Poland visited the U.S. in June this year, and had a successful meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. His visit marked Poland’s 20th anniversary of NATO membership, and matters of security, trade, energy and defense were discussed. It was agreed that further measures must be taken to enhance security in both countries, and including Poland in the Visa Waiver Program will be a step in the right direction.

Intelligence-sharing between the U.S. and Poland will be improved following its admission into the VWP, such as information on stolen passports, criminal activity or suspected terrorists. The countries can deepen their ties through tourism and travel.

Earlier, 38 states were eligible for the program and citizens from these nations are vetted through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Approved individuals can then travel to the U.S. for a maximum of 90 consecutive days in a two-year period. The total number of Visa waiver countries is now 39 with its newest addition being Poland.

There are certain requirements that must be met in order to become a member state in the VWP. For instance, intelligence sharing, similar travel privileges for U.S. nationals, and a visa refusal rate of 3% or less.

The U.S. Travel Association’s executive vice president of public affairs and policy, Tori Barnes, states that Poland’s addition to the VWP can be considered "an economic boon -- not to mention the benefit to the security relationship between the two countries."

Barnes claims that there has already been an increase of 53% in the number of Polish visitors to the U.S. since 2013.

"That growth could swell significantly if Poland joins the VWP," Barnes said. "Within three years of joining the VWP, the U.S. could expect an additional 97,000 Polish arrivals annually and $312 million in spending, which would produce nearly $720 million in economic output and support 4,200 jobs.

"Poland is a logical next addition to the program, and its admittance would further strengthen economic and security ties between our two nations," she said.

Existing members of the program have helped greatly in counterterrorism measures and criminal investigations in the United States.

President Trump has recognized in the recent visit that Poland is worthy of gaining VWP membership, but it would also necessitate a reevaluation of the requirement for visa refusal rates lower than 3%.

Initially, a visa refusal rate of 10% or less was acceptable in order to qualify for the program, before it was lowered to 3% by Congress, so countries that are already members may have had higher rates when they became a part of the VWP.

However, the visa overstay rate is perhaps a more important metric to consider. It would be better if maintaining a low visa overstay rate is mandated while the refusal rate of 10 percent is reinstated. The program will be more open to growth this way while keeping its integrity intact. Alternatively, NATO members who have adhered to military spending requirements and maintain a low rate of overstays could be given eligibility for membership.

Published on: 3 December 2019

Author: USA ESTA Team

Legal Disclaimer: This website is operated by a private company and is not affiliated with the United States Government