Poland Nominated for Visa Waiver Program
There is good news for Polish citizens who want to enjoy an easier process for visiting the US. Currently, any Polish citizen looking to visit the United States must apply for a visa to grant entry permission, which can take weeks or months to process and involves an interview at the US Embassy. In contrast, citizens of the 39 countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are able to quickly apply for an ESTA using an online form that generally takes a few hours to process.
Poland to gain VWP membership in the next few months
It was announced that as of September 30 2019, Poland has completed all of the necessary bilateral security agreements, and has therefore qualified to be nominated to become a member of the VWP. One of the key reasons that Poland is now nominated was due to the fact that the B1/B2 visa refusal rate was below 3%, which is a main indicator on the US government’s criteria for being in the VWP.
Poland’s membership into the VWP should be finalised in the next few months, as the US government do the final administration tasks that will officially place them in the VWP. Once that has been completed, Polish citizens travelling to the United States will be able to benefit from the much easier process of applying for an ESTA compared to applying for a visa.
Benefits of the ESTA
Applying for an ESTA is very straightforward and usually takes around ten minutes to complete the online application. It requires an application fee (which is significantly cheaper than the application fee for a visa) and answering a set of questions that will be reviewed in order to determine eligibility for the ESTA.
Examples of questions that must be answered are; medical history, criminal convictions and travel history to certain countries. Applicants must have a valid passport and the ESTA is electronically linked to the passport. When the traveller reaches the US border security, the agents will see on their system that an ESTA has been issued for the passport.
The ESTA is ideal for short term visits to the US for tourism or business purposes. Once approved, the ESTA holder is able to stay in the US for a period of up to 90 days at a time, although the ESTA will be valid for 2 years , during which multiple trips are allowed, provided that the linked passport is still valid.
Usually, the ESTA application will be checked very quickly and the applicant receives confirmation within just a few hours. It can take longer though, so it is recommended that applicants submit their ESTA application well in advance of their intended travel date. Anyone visiting the US for business meetings will be able to do so with an ESTA, rather than a business visa, saving time and costs. You are able to check the status of your application at anytime by entering the application number on the ESTA website.