Europe

US Begins Procedures to Grant Visa-Free Travel to Cypriots

Cypriot nationals are closer to visa-free travel to the US, thanks to the US Visa Waiver programme, which facilitates movement for nationals of member countries.

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Following a meeting between the Cypriot Foreign Minister and the US State Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, the two countries have come to terms with a timetable for the beginning of their Strategic Dialogue, Schengen.News reports.

As part of their negotiations, annual meetings will be held in the US and Cyprus, with the first round of consultations expected to be hosted by Nicosia in September.

We will be announcing and initiating a strategic dialogue between our countries. The first will take place this Fall in Cyprus.  I think it’s very powerful evidence of the strengthening, the deepening, the broadening of the relationship between our countries, acting together in so many different areas. 

Antony Blinken, US State Secretary of State

Membership in the programme enables Cypriot citizens to travel to the US without a visa for stays of up to 90 days. The purpose of the visit can be related to tourism or business. Currently, Cypriot citizens, as well as Bulgarians and Romanians, have to obtain a B-type visa to enter the United States.

Visa Waiver Programme to Strengthen US-Cyprus Diplomatic Relations

By joining the US Visa Waiver programme, Cyprus strengthens its political, economic, social and cultural relations with the United States. The same opens new prospects for American investments in the Mediterranean island and creates more opportunities for Cypriots.

In addition, it improves collaboration in the security and energy sectors – which are crucial for a nation. Romania, along with Cyprus and Bulgaria are the only Schengen member states of candidates, that have not joined the visa-free programme.

Previously, the Romanian ambassador to the US revealed that agreements on security measures are some of the challenges that await the country on the road to US Visa Waiver programme membership. Just like Cyprus, Romania is also close to being granted visa-free US travel.

US Issued 5,500 Visas to Cypriot Citizens in 2023

The official date of the US Department of State reveals that the the US authorities have granted 5,537 visas to Cypriot nationals in 2023.

That is up by 50 per cent compared to 2022, but down by 8.5 per cent compared to 2019, when no travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic were imposed.

Data by Schengen Visa Statistics show that over 163,000 visas were issued to applicants from the US in 2023. The US has one of the highest approval rates for visas in the Schengen Area.

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