Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan, in coordination with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, designated Poland into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Starting November 11, 2019, citizens and nationals of Poland will be able to apply to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a U.S. visa. A strong and vibrant economy is essential to United States national security. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 23 million travelers arrived through the VWP in 2017, whose spending generated $190 billion in economic activity and supported nearly one million jobs.
“The inclusion of Poland into the Visa Waiver Program is a testament to the special relationship that exists between our two countries, and the ongoing friendship and close cooperation on our joint security priorities,” said Acting Secretary McAleenan. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Polish government as we deepen our security cooperation as well as make travel easier for our citizens.”
The Visa Waiver Program is a comprehensive security partnership between the United States and a designated country that meets several requirements related to counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and border management. The primary goal of the program is to encourage travel while increasing security.
Under the Visa Waiver Program, citizens and nationals of Poland will be able to apply online for authorization to travel to the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). These authorizations are valid for two years. Travelers with B1/B2 visas should continue to use their visa for travel to the United States. While DHS will begin accepting applications on November 11th, the department reminds first-time ESTA applicants that it may take up to 72 hours for processing. ESTA applications may be found here.
This designation demonstrates the strong partnership and cooperation between the United States and Poland, its trusted partner. The Visa Waiver Program will expand cultural ties and strengthen the economy of both nations by encouraging tourism and business exchanges. Poland will be the 39th member of the program. More information on the Visa Waiver Program can be found here.