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Senators urge Secretary of State, Homeland Security to give Israel visa waiver status

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Dozens of U.S. Senators on June 21, urged the U.S. Secretary of State and Department of Homeland Security to include Israel in the Visa Waiver Program for visits to the U.S. under 90 days.

The letter argues that it would be convenient for both travelers and U.S. customs, considering 450,000 Israeli citizens travel to the U.S. per year. She also says it would increase business between the countries.

“The relationship between the U.S. and the State of Israel is critical to the long-term security of our country, and serves as an example of what an alliance for freedom can look like,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., said. “Allowing Israelis to travel to America without a visa boosts economic opportunities for our country and shows our trusted relationship with Israel as a key ally.”

The deadline for applying to the Visa Waiver Program is Sept. 30, with the Israeli government still having to fulfill multiple requirements before being eligible. The visa refusal rate has fallen below 3%, and data sharing has been facilitated, satisfying two requirements. However, other technical processes still remain.

Israel would not be the first country to be eligible for this exception, with forty other countries within the Visa Waiver Program.

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