The Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan hinted that if everything goes right Israel could complete the process of joining the U.S. waiver program as early as mid-2022.
“After I presented all the data to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and explained to him the reason why Israel did not meet all of the criteria [for the program], he was convinced this stemmed from a lack of understanding of the lifestyle in Israel on the part of immigration clerks and the delay in age created for veterans until they get a degree and a proper job,” Erdan said.
“From that moment, a significant breakthrough was made that should lead to a resolution at the end of the process. We established joint working teams, and Israel has an answer for each of the program’s requirements,” Erdan added.
The U.S. Homeland Security earlier said it is seriously thinking of including Israel for its visa waiver program that allows citizens to come to America without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days.
Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed there are four countries on the pipeline that are candidates for the visa waiver program and one of them is Israel.
We have four candidates in the pipeline: Israel, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania,” Mayorkas said
“We’re very, very focused on the program,” he added, saying it provides significant economic and security benefits,” Mayorkas added.
Israel became a strong candidate for the program as part of the bilateral cooperation between the US and Israel forged during the White House meeting of President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last August.
Sources said to join the program, a country must meet requirements related to counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and border management.
At the moment there are already 40 countries enrolled in the program.