No More (Czech) Visas to America
In a historic and long-overdue piece of legislation, both houses of the U.S. Congress have passed a measure then signed by President George W. Bush allowing five new EU member states into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, amongst them the Czech Republic and Estonia. The program, previously extended to just 27 countries, mostly in Western Europe, allows select foreign nationals to travel to the USA without visas. Critics have long criticized the plan, as many countries in Central and Eastern Europe currently allow American citizens to travel there without a visa.
The EU has been pushing for several years for the US to allow citizens of the 10 (now 12) new Member States to be allowed into the waiver program, as all Member States allow American citizens entry without a visa. However, so far the EU has only gotten half their wish, with countries like Poland and Hungary excluded from the program for now. Visas to the US usually take four to ten days to obtain, but there is always a chance of rejection if the embassy suspects intentions of staying in the country illegally. The choice of the Member States added to the program came from looking at their visa application rejection rates - those with rates under 10% were allowed to join the program. With the new legislation, business and leisure travellers from the Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Estonia will be allowed to enter the US with just their passports.
But Czech citizens shouldn't pack their bags just yet. The Czech Foreign Ministry estimates that the US visa requirements won't be lifted for about another two years, even though the legislation has been signed. At least throughout this summer, Czech travellers will have to deal with the paperwork if they want to see the Big Apple or the Grand Canyon. Luckily, there are enough wonders in Prague to explore for years to come!
Sonja from Finland Reply
Also, USA has a huge debt and dollar goes constantly down. They shoulf have considered long time ago giving social security to the people who live there over 2 years or want to stay ther and work( as Poles for example) abd they will have millions of hardworking immigrants paying taxes and building the stable country, opening companies etc. They should also lower a money credits for people ( they do give radiculous credits for housing that perso would pay off trough over 100 years- is this smart?). Polidh students studying in America don't take credit for school, they somegow study taking full credits abd work full time, maintain avisa and still graduate faster and with excellent results that American students- a fact. Lots of large abd historucal companies in United States were founded by immigrants, of course many by Poles-a fact. Polish education system are better than in United States- a fact. Average American won't even show you were is Poland or Czech republic on a map, neither knows the basic EU or polish history, cause USA shool books were written only highlighting the Russian abd German Occupation and 2 WW - so average American doesn't have any idea how old is the history of France or Poland- a fact; they often think Czech Rep. or Poland is a third world country- a fact. I have met many great people while living in Uk or United States and I must say America or any country that doesnt give working-self developing rights will only suffer from it in a long run.
Sonja from Finland Reply
Anyone who thinks Poland has a bad economy is an ignorant. I study anout this country for years and it's economy is one of the fastest growing in EU. Also Poles who are hardworking when given a legal chance to live and grow in other country (UK) are having a huge part in spinning the the country( they moved to) growth. Tell me that people who do the jobs that often anyone doesnt want or doeant know how to do are useless... oh people, be thankful that country as UK know how to use foreign work power, and make it part of it's growth. Unfortunatelly many countries are racist , ignorant or in majority xenophobic (Finland) where it's practically impossible to get any job and make any living unless you are foreign worker with the contract sign before moving to a country. We are all residents of the world and It's a pitty to watch UK citizens ,Polish, French American ANY citizens to suffer from anti-foreigners beurocracy in Finland.
Ben from United Kingdom Reply
Yes, this seems like a good idea doesn't it - there is quite a price to pay however. Perhaps when Czech are in a more financially stable condition this would not be a necessary barter. Bare in mind that I am planning a trip to the US to visit family very soon and my Czech girlfriend requires a Visa! However, if I were America I would ban the Polish full stop, as would most British people these days if they were to know in advance how the Polish were planning to mass emmigrate. To the Polish out there, stay in your own country, the Polish economy and social standing is slowly diminishing due to your greed.
Ania from Poland Reply
It really sucks that Poland or Hungary are not in this program - it's so unfair. Poland and Hungary (and Romania too) support the US militarily, their soldiers die fighting stupid American wars, and yet they can't even visit relatives in the US without going through the long paperwork process of getting a visa, with a good chance of denial. Poland and Hungary should make Americans get visas, then maybe we'd have less fat annoying tourists here!