Croatian citizens will no longer need a visa to travel to the United States for purposes such as business or tourism, as Croatian authorities have confirmed that Croats can now enter the United States without a visa, once they receive approval through the electronic system. System of Travel Authorization (ESTA).
The latest decision was revealed by a statement published by the US Embassy in Zagreb, TheSchengen.com reports.
“That day has come! Congratulations to Croatia on officially joining the Visa Waiver Program. If you are planning to go to the United States for business or leisure, you need to fill out an ESTA application form,” the embassy confirmed through its statement.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic also welcomed the decision.
“We have fulfilled all the criteria and achieved a strategic goal in the interests of Croatian citizens. As a result, we are turning a new page in relations, strengthening our partnership and creating preconditions for further economic cooperation and investment,” Plenkovic noted in this regard.
At the same time, Minister of Home Affairs, Davor Bozinovic, stressed that Croatia needed to meet very challenging criteria in order to become a participant in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) while the completion of such a program was considered an important achievement for Croats.
Croatia became part of the Visa Waiver Program on September 28, after US authorities confirmed that the Balkan country had met all the criteria required to become the newest member of the scheme.
At the time, it was reported that Croatians would be allowed to travel without visas to the United States for business or tourism purposes with a travel permit only starting December 1, 2021. However, the process was completed earlier than expected, and as of October 23, Citizens of Croatia are eligible to travel to the United States without a visa.
The US Visa Waiver Program, operated by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of State, is designed to allow travelers from other countries, now 40, to enter the United States for travel and business purposes for 90 days without a visa.
However, countries must meet several requirements in order to become part of this scheme. Among the conditions that other regions must meet are counterterrorism, law, border management, and immigration, as well as the percentage of nonimmigrant visa denials that must be less than three percent.
The US Department of Homeland Security urged all travelers to apply for an ESTA as soon as possible. An ESTA application is valid for two years.