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Croatians could travel to US visa free in near future

Croatian Times

Croatians soon may be able to travel to the United States without a visa as Croatia looks to fulfil all visa waiver program conditions next month.

Once Croatia completes the requirements, it is at the United States’ discretion to allow visa-free travel for Croatian citizens. The program, however, has seen some changes since 2009 that could delay Croatia’s incorporation.

Diplomatic sources do not want to speculate on the possible date for the elimination of visas, as there is a bureaucratic barrier that Croatia cannot influence - the condition that the level of refused requests for a visa is below three per cent.

Currently the number of refused visas in Croatia is five per cent. Twelve states have lower levels than Croatia, and only two – Cypress and Taiwan – are under three per cent.

This requirement was changed in 2009 when the USA chose not to implement the biometric exit controls, because of which the American Congress ordered the lowering of the threshold for refused visas from ten to three per cent.

American President Barack Obama has said, however, that he would make the program one of his priorities and that any issues will be resolved during his mandate which ends in 2012.

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