Skip to comments.US Senate agrees visa free travel for Polish tourists
Posted on 05/18/2006 10:44:10 AM PDT by lizol
US Senate agrees visa free travel for Polish tourists
The US Senate has passed an amendment to a bill on immigration reform which paves the way for Polish tourists to travel to the States without visas for a trial period of two years.
Report by Michal Kubicki
Polish officials and men-in-the-street have welcomed the news as a step in the right direction.
The visa issue has long been a point of contention in Polish-American relations with Poles having to apply for visas before traveling to America and having to pay for an application, even if they are eventually refused a visa. A fresh initiative to resolve the problem has come from the US Senate which has proposed that the visa waiver programme should cover the countries which are members of the European Union, have sent contingents of at least 300 troops to support the Americans in Iraq and do not pose a potential terrorist risk.
Even though the amendment does not mention Poland by name, it is clear that Poland is the only country to fulfill the three criteria. If made into law, the new legislation would allow Polish tourists and those traveling on business to stay in the States for up to 60 days without a visa. The scheme is to be introduced for an initial period of two years.
The Polish ambassador in Washington Janusz Reiter says the Senate decision is not yet a cause for celebration but for satisfaction and optimism
The Senate amendment has created good prospects for the House of Representatives debate. The House will now have to take a stand on a key document and not just respond to requests from Polish diplomatic circles. This is an entirely new situation, in both political and psychological sense.
Robert Strybel, the Warsaw-based correspondent of the Polish media in the United States, welcomes the decision of the US Senate
This is major step forward; so far weve had pressure, petitions, letter-writing campaigns . However, this is an initial step, because the House of Representatives will have to deal with the law and usually the bill does not end up the way it entered the House, so some aspects of it can be modified.
The amendment was sponsored by a group of senators which included Barbara Mikulski, who a decade ago was among the staunchest supporters of Polands entry to NATO
Barbara Mikulski from the State of Maryland pointed out that Poland is not just another communist hold-over or a Third World nation begging for a handout but a member of NATO and the European Union, as well as a major US ally in Iraq.
What at the moment prevents Poland from qualifying for the visa waiver programme is a very high rejection rate for visa applications, caused by numerous cases of people who take up illegal jobs in the States. According to Robert Strybel, the ball in now in the Polish court.
There is still this concept of breaking visa requirements, of posing as tourists and going to work, so the ball is now in the Polish court. If there is a two-year probationary period, itll be up to Poles to prove theyre within the law.
Former Polish president Lech Walesa has welcomed the decision of the US Senate.
It is not known at the moment when the immigration policy will be debated by the House of Representatives.
The net effect of this is we'll get a lot of Poles coming over here and overstaying their visas and working illegally as maids and so forth. So I expect this 2-year program won't be renewed.
I expect some Polish ladies might come over looking for husbands as well so if you've always wanted a Polish wife the next 2 years would be a good time.
Bring on the Polish Plumbers!!! :)
Visa not required, cash or Czechs accepted here now.
"Bring on the Polish Plumbers!!! :)"
They will have to be illegal ones who overstay- these are just 60 day non-working tourist VISAs.
You realize that Poland is already a fairly large source of illegal aliens, I hope.
I wouldn't pack my bags if I were a Polish tourist without a visa.
How about Slovaks?
Question: How would you like to be able to visit Poland without a visa? I happen to think that would be quite nice.
It takes forever to clean the house with a Slovak that won't suck up the dirt.
"You realize that Poland is already a fairly large source of illegal aliens, I hope"
no, this statement is false.
All of Europe constitute only 6% of illegal alliens, so Poles might be 1-2% of the total at most.
Americans can visit Poland without visa, for up to 90 days stay.
This is the most anti-Slovak statement that have ever read ;)
Another show of stupidity by the illustrious Senate...
Aw heck, let's just throw out the visas...
Amazingly enough, my brother in law employs Polish plumbers in Chicago. Non-union, but paid union scale.
This is a very good deal for Polish tourists wanting to visit the US, and something they have wanted for a long time. However, their record in the past has not been good on tourists overstaying their visas and returning home. If after the two years their record remains high they will lose this visa program.
You make my point. The Polish people are our friends, in fact one of our best friends. I see no reason why if we can visit for 90 days without a visa that we would not offer them the same terms.
About time. I have been a proponent of no visas for Polish Citizens for years.
If I had to choose another country of residence besides the US-it would be Poland.
I am a New Zealander working in Germany, IF I want to travel to the U.S. I have to have a visa,I have to pay for the visa, Poland is Germanys next door nabour and they have more problems with the Polish than the Americans have with Mexicians, America, watch out the Polish will steal everything and then try and sell it back to you (used and painted a differant colour ) I have had 2 cars stolen and found in Poland and I live 150 miles from the border, the cars, minus engines etc, were left on the street in Poland and traced back to me, With the good will of the German goverment I had to pay for them to come home ( about $1,800 each time ) I am one of tens of thousands of people in Europe that wish there was a wall.Dont even think about insurance the Poles are the reason that it costs more than the value of the car to cover it aganist theft