Croatian citizens can benefit from the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) by the end of the US fiscal year and be able to travel to the US without a visa by the end of 2021; The Croatian Interior Ministry stressed.
In this regard, Serena Hoy, assistant secretary of state for international affairs at the US Department of Homeland Security, told Hina News that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas will make such a decision by the end of this month, TheSchengen.com reports.
“And then hopefully, if all goes well, we’re optimistic that by the end of the year, Croatia will actually be able to start using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for travel to the United States,” Hoy noted.
On September 16, Minister of State for Political Affairs, Frano Matusic, held a meeting with a delegation from the US Department of Homeland Security led by Serena Hoy, where they discussed the integration of Croatia into the Visa Waiver Program, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. European affairs announced through a statement.
During the meeting, the authorities of the two regions agreed that Croatia’s accession to the Visa Waiver Program would contribute to improving mutual relations, particularly in the economy.
Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said that despite the COVID-19 situation, it is a very important moment in Croatia’s accession to the Visa Waiver Program.
The Visa Waiver Program is a scheme operated by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in cooperation with the Department of State that allows travelers from 39 countries to enter the United States for tourism or business purposes for stays of up to 90 days without being required to obtain a visa upon arrival.
However, travelers are required to apply for the authorization known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), in order to be able to enter the United States without a visa.
Currently, all countries that are part of the borderless Schengen area are part of the US Visa Waiver Program. However, for EU member states, only Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia and Romania are not part of such a scheme.
To become part of the Visa Waiver Program, countries are required to meet specific requirements; Among them, the visa refusal rate in Croatia should be less than three percent.
Earlier this year, TheSchengen.com reported that Croatia met the requirement to have a percentage of visa applications rejected for less than three percent.