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Advanced Measures Underway To Eliminate The Need For A Visa For Israelis To Travel To The USA

Going to the US without completing long forms, interviewing at the embassy, ​​standing in line and paying hundreds of shekels for the visa seems like an unreal dream for Israelis, but it turns out that this is closer than ever.

A breakthrough in contacts between Israel and the United States on an agreement to combat serious crime could lead to an exemption from the need for a visa for Israelis to fly to the United States.

According to the agreement reached between Israel and the United States, US law enforcement agencies will be able to request information on Israelis suspected of committing serious crimes, which will be signed in the coming weeks, paving the way for Israel to join the US visa exemption program within three to five years.

Recently, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Deputy Legal Advisor Roy Sheindorf visited the United States, where they met with their counterparts in the US Justice Department and reached agreements to ensure that information is provided to the Americans while minimizing the invasion of the privacy of Israeli citizens towards eliminating the need for a visa.

The United States has a similar agreement with 41 countries, including Germany, Britain, Australia and Japan, where this agreement is a basic condition for joining a visa exemption.

According to the agreement, the Americans will be able to contact each of the countries that signed the agreement to determine whether a fingerprint found in a serious crime scene exists in their database. The states are obliged to provide information about the legal status of the fingerprint holder – only on the condition that there is a suspicion that he was involved in a serious crime.

According to the agreement reached between Israel and the United States, the Americans will not have direct access to the databases in Israel and will be satisfied with referring these queries in order to minimize the violation of the privacy and rights of Israeli suspects. It should be noted that Israel faces another stumbling block on the way to an exemption from visas – the Americans’ demand that the rate of refuseniks to the US not exceed 3 percent a year, while in 2016 the percentage of Israelis who applied for visas to the United States and were refused stands at 4.1 percent.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked commented via her Twitter account, adding, “We are in the process of closing agreements to cancel the need for a visa and joining the visa-exempt nations as we have found the balance between invading the privacy of Israelis while complying with US demands.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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