The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, in coordination with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, announced this past Tuesday that Croatia has been designated as a new participant in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP, first established as a trial program in 1986 and made permanent in 2000, is an agreement between the U.S. and the VWP-selected country that allows citizens in those participating countries to enter the U.S. without a visa for a maximum of a 90-day stay. In return, the countries included in the VWP are required to abide by the same or similar travel allowances. The VWP is a popular travel program, as there are economic stimulation benefits, mutually-reinforcing global security, and the convenience of reciprocal international travel for business and tourism.
Following Croatia’s established statehood from Yugoslovia in December 1991, the first signs of U.S.’ acknowledgement of its independence was building up diplomatic relations. Since, the U.S. and Croatia had been strengthening their relations economically and militarily, with much focus on bilateral trade and humanitarian assistance. The designation of Croatia as a VWP-designated country is a promising sign that the U.S. and Croatia are advancing more quickly towards peaceful cooperation together on the intra-country diplomatic agenda.
In a press release published on the Department of Homeland Security’s website, Secretary Mayorkas sent his congratulatory remarks to Croatia, “for becoming the 40th member of the VWP after having met strict requirements,” and added, “… I look forward to our continued close cooperation on key priorities.”
The implementation of Croatia’s participation in the VWP is expected to start no later than December 1, 2021, and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) will be updated for Croatian citizens traveling to the U.S. for tourism or business purposes. More information on the Visas Waiver Program and requirements may be found here, and if you are a citizen belonging to Croatia or any country on the VWP list interested in visiting the U.S. through this program, please contact our office for more information how we can make that possible.