Greece becomes new member of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program

March 10th, 2010 - 5:19 am ICT by BNO News  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) – Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday that Greece is now a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

The VWP will strengthen passenger information sharing and ensuring strict security standards while simplifying travel for Greek citizens visiting the United States.

For more than two years, Greece and the U.S. have been coordinating the country’s entry into VWP. Tuesday’s announcement represents an important step in the countries’ partnership as the U.S. determined that Greece complies with key security and information-sharing requirements—such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States, timely reporting of lost and stolen passports, and the maintenance of high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards.

“Our efforts to guard against terrorism while enhancing legal travel and trade depend upon close collaboration with our international partners,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I commend our partners in Greece for committing to strong screening and security standards and enhanced information sharing for travel by Greek citizens to the United States as we work together to protect our citizens and strengthen our economies.”

Greek citizens will be permitted to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa, but they will be required to apply for an Electronic System Travel Authorization through the Web-based system. The VWP will become active for Greek citizen in about 30 days.

There are 35 nations already participating in VWP, which began in 1986.

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