The process for Greeks who wish to travel to the United States has been made easier. In the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a waiver can be applied for by Greek citizens as before. What’s the difference? The release was valid previously for one year. This waiver is now suitable for two years as of April 2019, more in line with the visa waiver program shared by significant countries with the US.
What is ESTA?
Non-Americans traveling to the USA for business or pleasure must follow specific steps before they are allowed to board American-bound flights. The country where the individual is from will determine the difficulty and number of these steps. Some governments place equal importance on the safety and protection of travelers and vigilance against serious criminals crossing borders. These countries usually have reciprocity agreements that allow them to travel together.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP), part of the US Department of State, lists all countries eligible to travel to the US. These visa waivers permit you to stay in the US for up to 90 days without needing to apply for a visa. After receiving their release, applicants can generally travel visa-free for the next two years. ESTA can also be used for business travel, tourism, and transit.
What’s the Controversy About?
Although Greece was on the list since 2010, it wasn’t until the Passenger Name Record law (PNR) that the country gained similar status to countries like Japan and the UK. The American State Department was concerned about how much Greece had invested in counterterrorism and the identification of criminals who left the country. ESTA waivers for citizens of Greece are now valid for two years with cooperation from the Greek government.
The US is known for being strict about its borders and worried about terrorist threats. They place many restrictions on inbound travel. The American holiday experience is made more accessible by ESTA applications submitted before the trip. Once a traveler’s information has been submitted to Departhe tment of Homeland Security, they can find out if they are authorized to board their plane or ship to the US. Although the travel waiver must be submitted 72 hours before travel, it is strongly recommended that passengers apply as soon as possible. Every family member will require their own ESTA waiver application, including infants and adults.
This request for tighter security was not made only by Greece. The European Commission urged Finland, France, and Portugal to change their legal systems to require traveler identification information. It generally includes the passenger’s name, travel dates and itineraries, contact information, and details about how they paid for their flight or ship accommodations. The cooperation of Greece was a significant step forward for its citizens.