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English Section

UPDATE: US to lift visas for Poles from November 11

06.11.2019 11:59
Polish tourists and businesspeople will be able to travel to America without visas from November 11, President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday, announcing a move long awaited by Poles.
President Andrzej Duda
President Andrzej Duda Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Duda told a press conference in Warsaw that the move would be officially announced by Washington later on Wednesday.

He said it was symbolic that visas would be lifted on November 11, Polish Independence Day.

On November 11 last year, Poland marked the centenary of regaining its independence after more than 120 years of foreign rule.

US President Donald Trump said last month that he had agreed to allow Polish tourists and businesspeople to travel to America visa-free. He did not specify at the time when the new rules would come into force.

Poland, a staunch ally of the United states, has long been pressing Washington to lift visas, which are seen by many Poles as a humiliating encumbrance.

The US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, at a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw on Wednesday 
The US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, at a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw on Wednesday. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Citizens of countries which are part of the Visa Waiver Program can travel to the United States for business or tourism for up to 90 days without a visa.

The threshold for a country to enter the program is a 3-percent refusal rate.

The rate for Polish nationals for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2018 was 3.99 percent, down from 5.92 percent a year earlier, according to the US embassy in Poland.

Meanwhile, in recent months a growing proportion of Polish applicants have been issued US visas, causing the denial rate to drop below 2.8 percent for the first time in history, Poland’s onet.pl news website reported in September.