This is not the first time that Israel has encountered difficulties in joining the United States’ Visa Waiver Program. For one thing, the old passports still in use by many Israelis who have yet to upgrade to biometric pose an issue. They are easily forged and far less reliable than their biometric replacement. America has requested biometric passports years ago.
In the latest developments, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotevely explained that US officials are seeking full access to Israel’s fingerprint database, a demand Israel is unwilling to accommodate.
The Visa Waiver Program permits foreign nationals to enter the United States without having to first apply for a visa. At present, there are 38 members nations in the program, and citizens of these countries are permitted to remain in the US up to 90 days without a visa.
Hotevely has been working hard to have Israel included in the program, hoping the Trump administration might be a bit less stringent, however, for the time being, Israel’s latest application has been rejected by the Americans.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)