U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said the United States is considering adding four countries – one of them being Cyprus – to its visa waiver program.
This program allows citizens to come to America without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days.
“We have four candidates in the pipeline: Cyprus, Israel, Bulgaria and Romania,” Mayorkas said on Wednesday at a travel industry event.
“We’re very, very focused on the program,” he added, saying it provides significant economic and security benefits.
In September, the United States added Croatia to the visa waiver program.
U.S. Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow said on Tuesday adding Croatia is a $100 million boost to the U.S. economy. “Each time you add one of these countries, the travel just booms,” Dow said.
In February, Mayorkas spoke with the European Commission’s Commissioner for Home Affairs and both “expressed their continued interest in maintaining the U.S.-EU Passenger Name Record Agreement and working with Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania to meet the qualifications for the Visa Waiver Program.”
To participate in the program, a country must meet requirements related to counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and border management.
There are currently 40 countries in the program.