The Romanian American Business Council (RABC), a not-profit organization that represents the interests of the Romanian American community, has launched an online petition aiming to convince the US Congress to include Romania in the Visa Waiver Program, which would allow Romanians to travel to the United States without visas.
“The RABC along with hundreds of Romanian organizations and millions of Romanian Americans and Romanians living here and abroad have high expectations that under the current leadership of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees Congress will move these commonsense VWP reforms forward in the 113th Congress. These reforms will ultimately allow Romania to join the 37 other countries already a part of the Visa Waiver program, and strengthen the longstanding bond of friendship between United States and Romania,” reads a presentation on RABC’s website.
Through its Visa Waiver Initiative, the organization presents the case for Romania’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program, pointing out to Romania’s involvement alongside the US in the Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars and the economic potential that Romanians can bring to the American economy.
“There are approximately one million Romanian Americans in the US. They and their ancestors have contributed much to the development and prosperity of their adopted country as well as to its freedom and independence. Form George Pomutz, to Emil Palade and Peter Georgescu, ethnic Romanians are credited with buying Alaska, winning the Nobel Prize or running billion-dollar companies. The geniality of our IT people remains legendary,” reads the RABC presentation.
Although Romania has been nominated by the US Department of State as an “impressive allied country”, it doesn’t qualify for the Visa Waiver Program due to the high visa denial rates. Romania has a visa overstay rate of 10.5%, three times more than the required 3% threshold.
However, according to the State Department, Romania has implemented and adopted in 2014 all security measures and information-sharing protocols required by the US government. Thus, security concerns relating to Romanian citizens should be minimal, according to RABC.
The citizens of a country granted a visa waiver by the United States are permitted a 90 day visit to the United States without applying for a visa at an American Consulate. This eliminates much of the bureaucratic red tape and long hours in line. It also saves money as an applicant has to pay a fee for each time it fills out a form for a visa.
The petition to include Romania in the Visa Waiver Program is available here.