As of November, Israelis will be able to enter the United States without a visa, a major change that Israel has long sought and that will ease travel for hundreds of thousands of its citizens, JTA.org reported.
Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program, which now includes 41 countries, means that Israelis traveling to the United States will no longer have to go through a months-long visa application process that carried the threat of denial.
It also means that Palestinian-Americans living in the West Bank and Gaza will be able to enter Israel after completing a form and a short waiting period. Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian travel were one barrier to its joining the Visa Waiver Program earlier.
Alejandro Mayorkas, the U.S. homeland security secretary, announced on Sept. 27 that Israel had successfully passed a three-month test of its commitment to treat Palestinian-Americans equally.
As part of the program’s reciprocity requirement, The United States mandates that countries in the program allow U.S. citizens to enter without restrictions.
“In advance of this designation, Israel made updates to its entry policies to meet the VWP requirement to extend reciprocal privileges to all U.S. citizens without regard to national origin, religion, or ethnicity,” Mayorkas said.