Once Again, Israel Encounters Problems In Joining US Visa Waiver Program

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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)

6 COMMENTS

  1. Sure it has been rejected. Just look at the number of Israeli illegals in the USA and you will understand why. The biometric passport requirement is one that the Americans impose on all countries whose nationals benefit from the relaxed terms of the visa waiver program. Why doesn’t the Deputy Foreign Minister show who is really the boss and require US citizens to apply for an Israeli visa as a condition of entry to Israel? That would show that the Israelis really mean business. Reciprocal arrangements are what is normal in relations between nation states. Oh and at the same time, if an Israeli citizen gives birth to a child in Washington, the Israeli Passport Agency can decline to show the country of birth as USA. Seems fair, no? After all why should the Americans get to choose what their capital is but not the Israelis?

  2. @Jerusalem observer: “Why doesn’t the Deputy Foreign Minister show who is really the boss and require US citizens to apply for an Israeli visa as a condition of entry to Israel?” Because Israel is heavily dependent on tourism so placing an obstacle to that would be a big mistake, or as they say, cutting off the nose to spite the face.

  3. Given that Israel has tried on several occasions to spy on the U.S. and paid for stolen confidential information from Americans, it has little basis to deny sharing fingerprint information from the U.S. Perhaps they are worried that such information might lead to the identification of known criminals wanted in the U.S. for tax evasion , fraud, etc. who are living the good life in EY under assumed names. There is no reason why U.S. citizens shouldn’t have to get a visa to travel to EY if we demand the same.

  4. If Israel demanded VISA’s from Us citizens it would cause alot of anger in the American jewish community, there is plenty of it now and it would make it worse and alot of them would not even travel to Israel if they had to get a VISA