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ROK, Chech Republic, and Estonia Will Be Added to VWP

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  • Hudson
    replied
    This is good news for Koreans. Starting in 2008, citizens from the Republic of Korea will be added to the Visa Waiver Program.

    S. Korea to Join US Visa Waiver Program in 2008

    By Yoon Won-sup
    Staff Reporter

    "Korea will join the U.S. visa waiver program as early as July of next year. The inclusion will entitle Koreans to visit the United States, either for the purposes of business or travel, for a period of up to three months without a visa.

    "A committee of U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate on security agreed Thursday to expand and approve the changes by early next week.

    "President George W. Bush is expected to sign and proclaim the legislation shortly after Congress approves it. Bush already pledged to work with Congress last June to include South Korea in the program.

    "The committee eased the required visa rejection rate from 3 percent to 10. Korea's current rate of visa rejection stood at about 3.5 percent, which had prevented the nation from joining the program.

    "The Czech Republic and Estonia, whose visa rejection rate is also less than 10 percent, will also join the program.

    "Congress will give the secretary of U.S. Homeland Security Department a right to lower the required visa rejection rate for the program once the department finishes 97 percent of an electronic immigration control system, according to the committee agreement.

    "However, the right would be annulled if the department failed to implement a complete electronic immigration control system in airports, which recognizes human bodies' characteristics, by June 2009.

    "Currently, the department has installed 94 percent of electronic immigration control systems and will meet the requirement of 97-percent completion at least by the end of this year, according to Korean government officials.

    "The legislation also requires the secretary of the department to introduce an electronic travel permit system in order to include new countries into the visa waiver program. Officials expect the United States to introduce the new travel system in the first half of next year.

    "Officials in Seoul said Korea will likely join the visa waiver program as early as July 2008 after Korea finishes consultations with the United States on the technical requirements and begins introducing electronic passports.

    "Korea plans to issue electronic passports on a trial basis in December, the measure that the United States has required as one of the crucial prerequisites to joining its visa waiver program.

    "Established in 1986, the program covers 27 countries. No nation has been included to the exclusive program since 1999 when its expansion was limited since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

    Currently, 900,000 Koreans visit the United States annually, and the number is expected to double once Korea joins the program."

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  • Hudson
    started a topic ROK, Chech Republic, and Estonia Will Be Added to VWP

    ROK, Chech Republic, and Estonia Will Be Added to VWP

    This is good news for Koreans. Starting in 2008, citizens from the Republic of Korea will be added to the Visa Waiver Program.

    S. Korea to Join US Visa Waiver Program in 2008

    By Yoon Won-sup
    Staff Reporter

    "Korea will join the U.S. visa waiver program as early as July of next year. The inclusion will entitle Koreans to visit the United States, either for the purposes of business or travel, for a period of up to three months without a visa.

    "A committee of U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate on security agreed Thursday to expand and approve the changes by early next week.

    "President George W. Bush is expected to sign and proclaim the legislation shortly after Congress approves it. Bush already pledged to work with Congress last June to include South Korea in the program.

    "The committee eased the required visa rejection rate from 3 percent to 10. Korea's current rate of visa rejection stood at about 3.5 percent, which had prevented the nation from joining the program.

    "The Czech Republic and Estonia, whose visa rejection rate is also less than 10 percent, will also join the program.

    "Congress will give the secretary of U.S. Homeland Security Department a right to lower the required visa rejection rate for the program once the department finishes 97 percent of an electronic immigration control system, according to the committee agreement.

    "However, the right would be annulled if the department failed to implement a complete electronic immigration control system in airports, which recognizes human bodies' characteristics, by June 2009.

    "Currently, the department has installed 94 percent of electronic immigration control systems and will meet the requirement of 97-percent completion at least by the end of this year, according to Korean government officials.

    "The legislation also requires the secretary of the department to introduce an electronic travel permit system in order to include new countries into the visa waiver program. Officials expect the United States to introduce the new travel system in the first half of next year.

    "Officials in Seoul said Korea will likely join the visa waiver program as early as July 2008 after Korea finishes consultations with the United States on the technical requirements and begins introducing electronic passports.

    "Korea plans to issue electronic passports on a trial basis in December, the measure that the United States has required as one of the crucial prerequisites to joining its visa waiver program.

    "Established in 1986, the program covers 27 countries. No nation has been included to the exclusive program since 1999 when its expansion was limited since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

    Currently, 900,000 Koreans visit the United States annually, and the number is expected to double once Korea joins the program."
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