Romanians to enjoy visa-free travel to the U.S. starting December 1, 2025, announces ambassador Andrei Muraru
Romania’s Ambassador to the United States, Dan-Andrei Muraru, announced on Digi24 that there are only two years left until Romanian citizens will be able to enter the US without visas. Muraru explained that the official announcement of Romania’s admission to the Visa Waiver program should come in January 2024, and from December 2025 Romanians will be able to travel to the US without a visa.
„There are only two years left until our country will definitely enter the Visa Waiver Program. Of course we still have a long way to go, but the way things look now, we are confident it will happen. The announcement of admission to the program will come in January next year, then from December 1, 2025 Romanians will be able to travel to the US without visas,” Muraru commented on Digi24.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens from countries included in the program to travel to the United States without a visa for up to 90 days.
As a reminder, earlier this year, US Senators Richard Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate leadership, and Jeanne Shaheen, Chair of the Europe Subcommittee of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced a bill recommending Romania’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Programme. The legislative initiative followed a visit to Romania by the two senators.
„The bill supporting Romania’s admission to the Visa Waiver program is the strongest legislative signal Romania has received from the United States on this issue. The bill also underlines the need to accelerate the efforts of both the US and Romanian governments to take concrete steps in this direction. Last but not least, the initiative of the US senators shows the support and confidence Romania enjoys as a partner and strategic ally in the Black Sea region”, said in March 2023, the Romanian Ambassador to the US Andrei Muraru.
Entitled „Romania Visa Waiver Act of 2023”, the draft legislation was considered an important legislative step marking the support of the US Senate in the context of Romania’s efforts to become a member state of this program. The bill gave an important political signal to the US executive branch (Department of Homeland Security, which administers the Visa Waiver Program) to designate Romania as a participating state.
At the same time, the Government of Romania is encouraged to intensify efforts to combat human trafficking and to meet the technical criteria for admission to the program as set forth in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.
The US Ambassador to Bucharest, Kathleen Kavalec, said recently in an interview with Agerpres, regarding the Visa Waiver program, through which Romanians would be able to travel freely to the United States of America, the ambassador says that „I hope we will be able to achieve something during my mandate”.
- „As Ambassador, let me say that I would like to see this become a reality and I am committed to working with the Romanian government on this issue. It will be on the agenda of our strategic dialogue. Moreover, we are collaborating, our experts are collaborating on the technical aspects of this programme, which involves passports, border crossing issues. As you said, we are talking about figures, namely the refusal rate. But, looking at the situation in other countries that have entered this programme and their journey, I am confident that we can move forward, we can make progress in these areas. I hope we will achieve something during my mandate. (…) Yes, I think it helps to have more visas issued than refusals, I think it’s useful to have information on how to get the visa you want, how to avoid giving insufficient information on this, I think it’s important to understand what you can do when you get different types of visas. For example, if you have a tourist visa, you can’t work in the US, you need a different type of visa. So disseminating this information so that visa applicants can get a visa will help the refusal rate go down,” said Kathleen Kavalec.
Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus are the only EU Member States whose visas have not yet been lifted by the United States. In 2014, the European Commission asked the US to waive visas for Croatia and other EU countries whose citizens still needed the document to enter the US, citing reciprocity. There have even been threats of sanctions, but this has not happened so far.
In order to be exempt from the US visa requirement, countries are required to have a visa refusal rate of less than 3%. Croatia’s visa refusal rate for 2020 fell to 2.69%, in line with the requirements. However, a nation’s final inclusion in the visa waiver program, even after all criteria are met, remains at Washington’s discretion.
Some US allies and EU member states such as Romania (10.14%) and Bulgaria (12.52%) had visa refusal rates well above 3% in 2021, according to Heritage.org.
A much better figure to consider is the visa overstay rate, which provides a clearer assessment of the risk of overstaying the visa originally set.
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