Newsroom / CNA
Robert Paschall, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the US Department of Homeland Security, recently visited Cyprus and discussed the country's aspirations to join the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Paschall emphasized the positive bilateral relations and commitment from both sides regarding the VWP. He explained that while the promise of entering the program is encouraging, there are strict prerequisites and milestones to meet before Cyprus can join.
Paschall highlighted the significance of the VWP, which allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the US for business or tourism stays of up to 90 days without a visa. He mentioned that the program simplifies access and strengthens people-to-people ties, contributing to security and travel facilitation.
Paschall praised the growing confidence and relationship between the US and Cyprus, emphasizing that the Dep't of Homeland Security aims to contribute to this relationship's enhancement.
Addressing the application process, Paschall stated that his office collaborates closely with countries, like Cyprus, aspiring to join the VWP. He emphasized that both sides must meet stringent requirements to ensure safety. He emphasized that the process is complex and requires substantial effort from both sides, but commitment and progress are positive indicators of a fruitful relationship.
Ambassador Julie Fisher echoed Paschall's sentiments, noting the productive discussions held with Cyprus' Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other representatives. She highlighted the effectiveness of a new structure established by President Christodoulides, which enhances cooperation and progress in the VWP process. Fisher underscored the importance of shared information and building confidence in security measures between the two countries.
Paschall and Fisher expressed optimism about Cyprus entering the VWP, which would strengthen bilateral ties and facilitate easier travel. Paschall praised the growing confidence and relationship between the US and Cyprus, emphasizing that the Department of Homeland Security aims to contribute to this relationship's enhancement. Fisher encouraged Cypriots to apply for visas, expressing that increased applications bring the countries closer to achieving their goals.
As they work towards Cyprus' inclusion in the VWP, Paschall emphasized the importance of mutual learning and understanding between the countries to enhance security and cooperation. He expressed a commitment to continued progress and collaboration in the coming weeks and months. Currently, 40 countries participate in the US Visa Waiver Program, with 24 of them being EU member states.