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  Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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President George Bush announced on Friday that the United States would
President George Bush announced on Friday that the United States would soon cancel visa requirements for six European countries and South Korea for visits lasting up to 90 days.

He said South Korea and six members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia - have met all the conditions to be added to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in about a month.

"I believe the best foreign policy for America is one that lets people from other countries get to know this country firsthand," Bush said, adding that giving more people the chance to visit would deepen friendships and make the allied countries safer.

The program, which allows tourists or business travelers to enter the United States without obtaining a visa, currently includes 27 countries, among them most EU member states as well as Andorra, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan.

"Expansion of the Visa Waiver Program is a momentous leap forward for the American economy and proof that we can simultaneously strengthen America's security and welcome additional visitors," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association.

The citizens of former Soviet bloc countries, like the Baltic States, currently have to obtain visas to enter the United States, while U.S. nationals are allowed to travel the other way without visas. The discrepancy has been a major source of contention between the allies.

Nevertheless, some U.S. allies, such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, were left out of the group on Friday for failing to meet certain criteria. Bush added, however, that other countries could soon be given the visa-free treatment.

The only condition for the citizens of new VWP members to enter the U.S. will be to have biometric passports. From January 2009, travelers from VWP members will have to request authorization to enter the United States via the Internet.


Print President George Bush announced on Friday that the United States would Bookmark President George Bush announced on Friday that the United States would

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