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Elimination of Visa for Israelis Traveling to America a Long Way Off

passport1.jpgIt appears that the era of Israelis traveling to the United States without first obtaining a visa is a long way off despite statements to the contrary made last month by Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit. US President George W. Bush just announced that residents of seven allied nations maintaining good relations with America will no longer require a visa and Washington is currently weighing such a request for citizens of six additional countries. Israel does not appear in either group.

Those granted non-visa status include Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and S. Korea. The countries being considered, on the way to non-visa status are Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, Poland and Romania.

When Sheetrit visited Washington a number of weeks ago, he filed a formal request. He was told that Israel must comply with a number of requests before the non-visa status can be realized, including the changeover to biometric passports (reported HERE on YWN). These passports include fingerprints and eye-retina scans, making forgeries virtually impossible.

The changeover was approved by the Israeli government a number of months ago, but it appears such a move will become reality towards the end of 2009 at the earliest. Sheetrit will be visiting Japan where he hopes to learn more about the high-tech passports.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

2 Responses

  1. you know, there are countries who don’t have biometric passports that already have non-visa status. I think the real reason why the U.S. won’t give it is because they realize that they can’t give 1.5 million arabs free entry to blow themselves up where they please.
    I think the state department will drag their feet for as long as possible on this.

  2. Interesting that hi tech Israel (with his own security problems)seems to be among the last to know about these biometric passports.
    Maybe they still rely on Shloime Carlebach’s “Munkacser Passport”.

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