Friday, November 7, 2008

Romania: The signing of the Declaration on the Principles of Cooperation for the preparation for Romania to access to the US Visa Waiver Program

Monitor Pack ISRIA

The Ambassador of Romania to the United States, Adrian Vierita and the US Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, signed on November 3, 2008, in Washington, the " Declaration between the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform of Romania and the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America regarding principles of cooperation on enhanced bilateral security measures for international travel and the requirements of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program".

The signing of the Declaration means an important stage of the preparation process of Romania for the access to the Visa Waiver Program. The Declaration confirms at political level the intention of the authorities from the two countries to cooperate in order to implement a set of measures designed to ensure a high level of security standards for international travels.

The measures which the Declaration refers to are the same with the measures assumed by the other European Union member states, which want to participate to the Visa Waiver Program. These measures aim to introduce a national system for issuing electronic passports, to create certain mechanisms for ensuring the information exchange regarding the lost or stolen passports and information exchange regarding the known persons or suspects for being involved in terrorist activities, to establish certain conditions for the air marshals charged on security to the board of aircrafts belonging to American airlines. The application of these measures will lead to the improvement of security of the international travels for all travelers, with benefits also for Romanian citizens.

During the process for adopting these measures, the Romanian and American authorities will conclude certain separated agreements regarding each of the fields stipulated by the American Law being also mentioned in the text of the Declaration. The assessment for Romania's access to the Visa Waiver Program will be carried out depending on the moment when these measures are completed and on the evolution of the rejection rate of the tourist and/or business visa applications submitted by Romanian citizens to the US embassies and consulates. The rejection maximum level accepted by the American Law in cases of countries included in Visa Waiver Program is of 10%. Currently, the rate of visa application rejections for Romania is of 25% (less compared to 37,7 percent recorded last year).

The American authorities committed to further support Romania for fulfilling the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program.

Romania's access to the Visa Waiver Program continues to be a priority and a major concern also at the European Union level, which is very interested in promoting an equal treatment for all citizens of the Union who travel in the United States.

During the signing ceremony of the Declaration, the two officials appreciated the importance of this approach for the development of the Romanian-American relations, considering this event as a proof of the powerful cooperation relation between the two countries.

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