US Adds Israel to the Visa Waiver Program
The United States has decided to expand the list of countries participating in the US Visa Waiver Program by Israel.
Israeli nationals will now be able to travel to the States visa-free. The new regulations will become effective as of November 30, 2023.
Instead of getting a visa for the US, they will need to register for the US ESTA.
Until recently, Israeli citizens, like other nations not participating in the VWP, had to apply for a relevant visa to travel to the United States.
Traditional visa applications usually take more time than online registration for ESTA.
Relaxing the visa requirements for Israel is followed by similar changes in the immigration policy introduced by the Israeli government toward US citizens.
This bilateral agreement is a historical movement to establish a long-lasting partnership between these two nations.
ESTA Visa Waiver for Israelis
The introduction of the Visa Waiver Program was aimed at enhancing tourism and strengthening relations between the countries participating in the program and the United States.
According to the recent announcement, Israelis will no longer need to obtain a visa to travel to the US for short-term trips. This is an excellent facilitation for travelers from Israel as it will allow them to save plenty of time and avoid complicated immigration procedures.
Visitors from Israel must only obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) to travel to the States. With ESTA, a traveler is allowed to stay for up to 90 days in the States. ESTA covers purposes of tourism, business, and transit.
Israel relaxes travel restrictions for Americans
The US Visa Waiver Program's requirements include equal treatment, which means that Israeli authorities must allow visa-free entry for Palestinian Americans. They can fly into Ben Gurion Airport and enter the country without a visa for Israel.
On July 20, 2023, Israel started a trial making it easier for Palestinian Americans to cross its borders and enter into the West Bank areas controlled by Israelis.
According to the Israeli Interior Ministry data, more than 130,000 Americans have traveled to Israel during this trial period. More than 6,000 of them were Palestinian Americans.