US allows Israeli citizens to travel to US visa-free as Israel joins a select group of countries.
US allows Israeli citizens to travel to US visa-free as Israel joins a select group of countries
Enhancing collaboration and freedom of movement
Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that this agreement, after more than a decade of work, will enhance collaboration between the two nations on counterterrorism, law enforcement, and other common priorities, making them more secure. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the enhanced freedom of movement for US citizens, including those living in the Palestinian Territories or traveling to and from them. Israel’s admission to the visa waiver program has been a priority for successive Israeli leaders and is seen as a positive development amidst ongoing protests against Netanyahu’s proposed changes to the country’s judicial system.
Reactions and benchmarks
In Israel, the news of visa-free travel to the US was greeted with enthusiasm. Yair Lapid, the current head of the opposition, hailed it as “good news for Israel,” while former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked President Joe Biden for fulfilling his promise. To be eligible for the visa program, countries must meet three critical benchmarks. Israel has met two of those benchmarks over the past two years, demonstrating their commitment to the requirements of the program.