Polish nationals can travel to the United States visa-free for tourism and business purposes beginning from Monday, November 11, just like the rest of the Schengen member states. The decision has been taken after the Trump Administration formally nominated Poland as the newest addition to the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on October 4, this year.
According to a press release of the US Embassy in Warsaw, Poles will now have to only apply for and get an ESTA, which stands for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
“Beginning from November 11th, 2019, Polish citizens will be able to travel to the United States for business and tourism under the U.S. Visa Waiver Program without visas, upon obtaining an approval from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) online,” the press release reads, adding that Poles applying for an ESTA must have passports with embedded computer chips.
Currently, one ESTA application costs $14 and is valid for up to two years for multiple trips to the United States. Travelers need to apply for ESTA at least 72 hours before the planned trip.
On the occasion of Poland’s designation into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), the acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan said that this step is a testimony of the US’ relationship with Poland.
“The inclusion of Poland into the Visa Waiver Program is a testament to the special relationship that exists between our two countries, and the ongoing friendship and close cooperation on our joint security priorities. We look forward to continuing to work with the Polish government as we deepen our security cooperation as well as make travel easier for our citizens,” he said.
Poland has been trying hard to convince the US officials to list as a visa-free country, as the number of Poles traveling to the US remains high, mainly due to the number of 10 million Poles living in the US.
After several promises from the US ambassador in Poland Georgette Mosbacher, vice president Michael Pence, and US President Donald Trump himself, on Monday, Polish passport holders can apply for an ESTA and once they receive confirmation that they are granted with the travel authorization, they can fly to the US without any further hurdles.
However, Polish nationals must be aware that those who went on a visit to North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen after March 01, 2011, will not be eligible for an ESTA, as the US considers these eight countries as high-risk countries. Poles that visited these countries will still have to travel to the US with a traditional sticker visa.
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