US Embassy starts Visa Waiver for Poland campaign

The US Embassy has appealed to Poles who consider applying for or renewing a US visa to submit applications by end of September as it is key to qualifying Poland for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

“We are launching the #VisaWaiverDlaPolski campaign!” the US Embassy in Warsaw tweeted in Polish on Wednesday.

“We have time, until the end of September, to reduce the percentage of visa refusals and thus help Poland join the VWP, but we need help from Poles − let’s do it together!” the tweet states.

The campaign’s goal is to encourage Poles to apply for a visa and simultaneously fulfil all the conditions that must be met in order to receive a visa.

The embassy has prepared a short video that has also been published on the social networking site, Twitter.

“The more candidates eligible for a visa or visa renewal, the greater the chance that together we will achieve the goal and rate of visa refusals will fall below 3 percent,” the US embassy argued in the film.

The embassy noted that inclusion of Poland in the VWP, which is a priority for US Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher, will be possible if tourist and business visa refusal rate calculated from October to September falls below three percent. Last year, the ratio was lowest on record, slightly below four percent.

Warsaw has been eyeing the VWP that allows citizens from 38 countries, including Germany, Chile and South Korea, to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without a visa, for business or leisure. Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Croatia are the only EU member countries not included in the US VWP.

The programme was created in 1986 and was initially capped to eight countries. The US Congress since then has passed legislation amending qualifying criteria and allowing more countries to participate. It became a permanent programme in 2000.

Individuals travelling to the US under the VWP must be checked via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which runs searches on law enforcement databases. If someone is denied travel through the electronic system, they can still apply for a visa.