The Romanian government hopes to meet all the requirements for admission to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program by 2024. This means that Romanians would be allowed to travel to America with an ESTA starting in 2024.
Visa required for Romanians to travel to the US
Romania is one of only three EU member states not yet part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, also known as the ESTA program. This program allows travellers from certain countries to travel to America without a visa. Instead, they can apply for an ESTA online. The other two member states that are not yet part of the ESTA program are Bulgaria and Cyprus, and for Hungary there is a special rule that Hungarians who were not born in the country cannot apply for an ESTA. The most recent member state to be admitted to the ESTA program was Croatia, in 2021.
This means that Romanians must apply for a visa to travel to the United States. Applying for a visa takes both time and money. On the contrary, an ESTA is usually approved within three days, in many cases on the same day. The cost of an ESTA is also considerably lower. It is therefore no surprise that many countries seek admission to the ESTA program. It allows, among other things, for a significant reduction in the burden on embassies in the country.
For years, Romania has struggled with one important condition for admission to the United States ESTA program: the percentage of rejected visas for the United States. The maximum number of rejected visa applications for America should not exceed 3%. In Romania, that percentage is currently 10%. According to the Romanian government, the main reason for this is that many individuals do not complete their visa applications. Since unfinished visa applications are rejected over time, this causes an additional high percentage of rejected visas.
The Romanian government wants to raise awareness among the population through campaigns on how to submit visa applications. The hope is that in this way, fewer visa applications will be left unfinished.
Other countries also hope to be eligible for ESTA
Romania is not the only country hoping to be admitted to the United States ESTA program in the near future. Turkey, Israel and Argentina, among others, want their citizens to be allowed to travel to America without a visa. Israel seems to be the closest to a possible admission to the ESTA program, but the U.S. government is demanding, among other things, that Israel relax travel requirements for American travellers to Israel. The European Union also wants Bulgaria and Cyprus to be admitted, but for now only Romania seems to be eligible.
Netherlands and Belgium are already part of the ESTA program
Both the Netherlands and Belgium are already part of the US ESTA program. Travellers from these countries can apply for an ESTA online before their trip. They do not have to take their passport to the embassy. An ESTA has a relatively long validity period. It is valid for two years, and each visit to the US may last up to 90 days.
Take note: this news article about the ESTA for the USA is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the ESTA for the USA.