Israel on the brink of completing Visa Waiver Agreement with US

Published on : Tuesday, November 14, 2017

vAttorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Deputy Attorney General for International Affairs Roei Sheindorf negotiated a deal with the US’ Department of Homeland Security that will allow the Israeli citizens to travel under the Visa Waiver Programme.


It will however give the US an access to the country’s fingerprint database for background checks.


It was reported that the US was considering the addition of Israel to the list of countries which are allowed to travel without a visa obtained in advance.



Earlier the Israeli authorizes had argued that they should be given the right to travel on the 90-day tourist visas that had been granted to 38 other countries by the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP).



The US will be allowed access to the Israel’s extensive fingerprint database as a part of the anticipated agreement. The previous demand for access to the entire system had been dropped by the American authorities. But it now request access to the files of those citizens suspected of crime punishable by prison sentences of more than 10 years.



Since the deal requires the sharing of sensitive date with a foreign nation it must be passed by the Israeli law. Although it was seen that several politician  had raised privacy concerns over giving the US the background information in the past.


To finalise the agreement Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is expected to travel to the US by next fortnight.


Israelis like citizens of most other countries must attend an interview in the US embassy, pay a processing fees and submit submit extensive paperwork for background checks before they are allowed to travel to the US.


Tourist visa upon arrival was provided to the American citizens travelling to Israel. The reported agreement was in contrast with Donald Trump’s administration’s attempts of implementing ‘Muslim ban’. The executive order blocked by various courts suspended the processing of visas for people from Muslim-majority countries.

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