Polish people may travel to United States without visas beginning November 11
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
Polish citizens and nationals will be able to apply to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without obtaining a U.S. visa beginning Nov. 11.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, in coordination with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, included Poland in the Visa Waiver Program on Nov. 6, according to a press release.
“The inclusion of Poland into the Visa Waiver Program is a testament to the special relationship that exists between our two countries, and the ongoing friendship and close cooperation on our joint security priorities,” McAleenan said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Polish government as we deepen our security cooperation as well as make travel easier for our citizens.”
The Visa Waiver Program is a security partnership between the United States and a designated country that meets several requirements related to counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and border management, the release said.
The program was established in 1986 to eliminate barriers to travel, stimulate tourism and permit the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. It was tightened following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Under the program, citizens and nationals of Poland will be able to apply online for authorization to travel to the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. These authorizations are valid for 2 years, the release said.
Travelers with B1/B2 visas should continue to use their visa for travel to the United States. While the Department of Homeland Security will begin accepting applications on Nov. 11, the department reminds first-time applicants that it may take up to 72 hours for processing, the release said.
To apply, visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/.
Poland will be the 39th member of the program.
Poland was one of the few European nations to have been excluded from the program in the past in large part due to a history of visitors overstaying their visas. The Polish government repealed its visa requirements for U.S. citizens traveling to Poland in 1991.