The United States announced on Wednesday that it would include Israel in the visa waiver program, a decision criticized by Democratic congressmen and the Palestinians.
The decision was made after a reciprocal visa waiver agreement was signed between the United States and Israel in July and at the end of a “successful” trial period of several months.
Likewise, Israelis who wish to travel to the United States will be able to do so without a visa on “November 30,” the US government said in a statement.
This announcement “is an important step forward in our strategic partnership with Israel that will further strengthen people-to-people engagement, economic cooperation, and long-standing security coordination,” said the head of diplomacy at the US, Antony Blinken, in a release.
It allows for greater “freedom of movement for American citizens, including those living in or traveling to and from the Palestinian territories,” he added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked US President Joe Biden for his support for “a step that will further strengthen relations between the countries.”
The United States has until September 30 to determine whether Israel can be accepted into the program.
A dozen Democratic congressmen recently asked Biden to postpone it because they believe Israel has not provided enough guarantees.
The announcement comes a few days after Biden and Netanyahu met during the UN General Assembly in New York, following months of tension over reforming Israel’s judicial system, considered “undemocratic” by Washington, and the continued colonization of the Palestinian territories.
“The American decision seems like a reward given to Israel,” Palestinian Minister of Social Affairs Ahmed Majdalani told AFP on Wednesday. “This proves that the United States will always be on Israel’s side,” he said.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it expects the United States to “fulfill its promises” and “establish the same procedures for Palestinian citizens.”
Citizens of 40 countries are currently exempt from entry visas for short stays in the United States for tourism or business.
Applying for an American family tourism visa carries many risks
For Colombian citizens who wish to visit the United States, obtaining a US visa is an important process that requires an understanding of its requirements and the steps required to apply for it.
There are a wide variety of types of visas for different activities, from tourism to temporary work or study, each with different requirements. Below are the main visa categories and the steps you need to follow to apply for them from Colombia.
For Colombians who want to travel as tourists to the United States, a US tourist visa (B2) is a suitable option. This visa allows entry into the country for the purposes of tourism, entertainment, visiting friends or family, medical treatment, and participation in cultural or sports activities, among other things. The requirements to apply for a B2 visa are as follows:
- Fill out Form DS-160 on the State Department website.
- Schedule an appointment at the United States Consulate or Embassy.
- Make an online payment of the corresponding fee.
- Attend an appointment at the Embassy,where you must present a valid passport with at least six months validity, the DS-160 form, proof of payment and a recent 5×5 cm photo.
The most requested Colombian visa to travel to the United States is the tourist visa, which can be B1 or B2. The first of these focuses on people who intend to enter the country with the intention of doing business and creating work relationships but do not remain employed in the country.