Romania already meets a part of the Visa Waiver Program requirements, U.S. Consul General in Bucharest Henry Leighton said on Wednesday, adding that a working group on consular subjects made up of Romanian and U.S. officials is handling the rest of the requirements.
Leighton said that the criteria a state needs to fulfill in order to access this program include strengthening the legal framework for data sharing with the U.S., the introduction of e-passports, particular counterterrorism measures, but also the decrease of the visa refusal rate in a fiscal year to less than 3 percent. In this context, the U.S. official said that last year the refusal rate for Romania dropped for the first time below 10 percent, specifically to 9.8 percent.
He added that certain requirements for the Visa Waiver Program have already been fulfilled following the efforts of the working group.
We are trying to fulfill these requirements. We did it as regards lost and stolen passports. We also fulfilled certain requirements related to counterterrorism, but there is also an agreement on the exchange of information, which is also a requirement for the Visa Waiver Program and which we need to set in place. (…) Then there are some issues about extradition and repatriation, Leighton said quoted by Agerpres.
He reminded that several countries have joined the Visa Waiver Program around 2008, when the 3 percent refusal rate threshold was removed, but explained that the law allowing this is no longer in force.