Poles to visit US visa-free by Christmas?

Poles to visit US visa-free by Christmas?

Republican senator Mark Kirk has forecast that Poles will be approved to join the United State’s visa waiver program by Christmas.

Sen. Mark Kirk  fot. Wikipedia

Sen. Mark Kirk fot. Wikipedia

The senator, who has championed Polish accession to the program for several years, stressed at a press conference in Chicago that economic benefits for the US are likely to tip the balance in favor of the Poles.

“State department data shows that after inclusion in the visa waiver program 67,000 Poles will come each year to Chicago alone,” Kirk said.

“I hope that many families in Chicago will have a successful Christmas, with Poles coming to visit their parents here, filling up hotel rooms at the same time.

“This will be good for the economy,” he said.

Some 30 European countries are currently included in the visa waiver program, which allows travelers to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visa.

Since 1991, after the fall of communism, US citizens have not needed a visa to visit Poland.

President Barack Obama personally endorsed prospective legislation in May 2011, having already promised to drop visa requirements for Poles when Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski visited America in December 2010.

However, draft legislation introduced in late January 2012 failed to bear fruit.

Currently, there are several pieces of draft legislation in the pipeline which would bring Poles into the visa-free fold.

A general reform of US immigration laws was passed by the Senate in late June, but it has yet to go through the lower House of Representatives, where the dominant Republican party is nevertheless divided on the legislation.

Similar changes in the visa waiver program are also included – with the support of both parties – in draft legislation for the budget of the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year of 2014. This draft legislation was adopted in July by the Senate Budget Committee.

The abolition of visas for Poles is also included in the draft JOLT Act (Jobs Originated through Launching Travel).

(nh)

Categories: News in English

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