Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the US Department of Homeland Security, Robert Paschall, has said that Cyprus is on the right track, but it still needs to meet certain prerequisites to join the Visa Waiver Program.
Such a remark from Paschall was made during his visit to Cyprus last week, where he met the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Constantinos Kombos.
In an interview for Cyprus News Agency, Paschall said that both sides are committed to achieving positive results as soon as possible and, at the same time, highlighted the importance of the Visa Waiver Program.
“It [Visa Waiver Program] is a security program, and it is also a travel facilitation program, and it strengthens people-to-people ties. All those things are very important, and it allows for countries such as the US and Cyprus who keep ties and relationships to deepen them,” Paschall said.
In addition, Paschall stressed that the authorities of the two countries continue to work closely with each other and said that there are some important milestones that need to be hit.
Paschall further noted that one of the most important requirements is information sharing between the two countries. According to him, the US and Cyprus should be aware of when their citizens are entering and leaving the two countries.
“We’re working to make sure that those reciprocities are solid, that information flows both ways,” Paschall stated.
Additionally, Paschall said that the authorities are currently focused on Cyprus so that the country meets the requirements as soon as possible and its citizens are able to enter the territory of the US under facilitated rules.
The Visa Waiver Program allows all citizens of the participating countries to travel to the US for business or tourism purposes for stays of up to 90 days without having to apply for a visa.
Since Cyprus has not joined the Visa Waiver Program yet, all of its citizens continue to be subject to the visa requirements when reaching the US for tourism and business purposes.
When applying for a US visa for one of the purposes mentioned above, citizens of Cyprus are required to follow several application procedures.
They need to submit the fully completed Form DS-160, pay the visa fee, schedule their interview, compile their document file, and attend the interview.
The document file must include the applicant’s valid passport, a photograph, the completed Form DS-160, proof of paid visa fee, a letter describing the purpose of the trip, proof of sufficient financial means, and a letter from the authorities stating that the applicant does not have prior convictions, among many other things.