The Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan said that Israel could complete the process of joining the U.S. waiver program as early as mid-2022.
“After I presented all the data to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and explained to him the reason why Israel did not meet all of the criteria [for the program], he was convinced this stemmed from a lack of understanding of the lifestyle in Israel on the part of immigration clerks and the delay in age created for veterans until they get a degree and a proper job,” he said.
“From that moment, a significant breakthrough was made that should lead to a resolution at the end of the process. We established joint working teams, and Israel has an answer for each of the program’s requirements.”
In an August meeting with Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, President Joe Biden said he intended to add Israel to the visa waiver program.
“Ahead of the prime minister’s Washington visit, I acted together with his team and the administration for there to be a presidential statement. And indeed, the president expressed his desire to see Israel included in the waiver program, and this is very significant progress,” Erdan said.
Israel has been lobbying for the move for years, as being included in the U.S. visa waiver program would enable all Israelis to visit the United States for up to 90 days for tourism or business.
Currently, Israelis seeking to travel to the U.S., must go through a lengthy visa application process.