In a significant announcement, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken have designated Israel into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This development, effective on November 30, 2023, holds immense importance for travelers from Israel and the United States. Please continue reading to learn more about what this recent development may mean for you.
What is the Visa Waiver Program?
The Visa Waiver Program, or VWP, is utilized to bolster security measures in both the United States and its partner countries while simultaneously facilitating legal travel and business, fostering comprehensive security partnerships.
Israel’s Inclusion in the VWP & Reciprocal Privileges for U.S. Citizens
Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program marks a significant milestone in the U.S.-Israel relationship. This designation, which has been in the making for over a decade, strengthens the bond between the two nations in terms of security, economics, and cultural relationships. Starting from November 30, 2023, Israeli citizens and nationals will be able to apply for travel authorization to the United States for tourism or business purposes without the need for a U.S. visa, allowing stays of up to 90 days.
In response to Israel’s inclusion in the VWP, U.S. citizens will also enjoy enhanced travel privileges. They can now visit Israel for up to 90 days for business, tourism, or transit without obtaining a visa.
Ongoing Monitoring and Commitments
It’s essential to note that today’s designation is not the end of the process. The U.S. Government will continue to engage with the Government of Israel, ensuring all program requirements are met. This ensures that the partnership between the two nations remains robust and secure.
Starting from November 30, 2023, citizens and nationals of Israel can apply online for authorization to travel to the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), and will typically have a valid authorization for two years. Additionally, Israeli citizens with valid B-1/B-2 visas may continue to use them for business and tourist travel to the United States.
As the implementation of this program progresses, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest updates and requirements for hassle-free travel. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to a seasoned New York City immigration lawyer from the Lightman Law Firm for help.