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Israelis Soon to Enjoy Visa-Free Travel to the U.S. Under Biden Administration

Monday, September 25, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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The Biden administration will announce this week that Israel is joining the Visa Waiver Program. That offers Israelis an opportunity to visit the U.S. without a visa, despite concerns about Israeli treatment of Palestinian Americans.

Run by the Department of Homeland Security, it allows people from 40 mostly European and Asian nations to enter the country for three months without needing a visa.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken recommended Israel's admission, which is soon set to be announced by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. It comes eight days after President Joe Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the U.N. General Assembly.

The problem had been hammered out and argued over for months, but the leaders failed to discuss it in their meeting. The U.S. has also criticized Netanyahu's West Bank and Palestinian policies.

Israel met two of the three program entrance criteria that it did not meet during the past two years: a low visa application denial rate and a low visa overstay rate. However, reciprocity—equal treatment of all Americans, including Palestinian Americans—continued to be an issue.

Palestinian Americans can now fly direct from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv to the West Bank and Israel. New regulations codifying those changes have gone into effect with Homeland Security Department oversight.

The registration that Israelis have to do under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization permits them to move in the United States without any visa for a maximum of 90 days.

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