US considering visa waiver for Colombians

Posted on Mar 1 2014 - 11:53am by Rico
John Kerry (R) and Maria Angela Holguin (Photo: US State Department)

The United States is considering following steps taken by the European Union to waive visa requirements for Colombians, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Colombia’s Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said Friday.

“We would very much like to be able to grant a visa waiver. It’s not a question of a lack of will,”said Kerry at a press conference with his Colombian counterpart, quickly specifying that “we have a law passed by the Congress of the United States, which we have to follow, which sets up certain criteria that have to be met in order to implement a visa waiver program.”

The law Kerry referred to allows the US government only to allow a country to enter a program that waives its nationals visa requirements if less than 3% of visa applications is granted. “Colombia is way over that 3 percent level,” said Holguin.

However, Kerry promised to “work together. We’re absolutely committed to make sure that as soon as possible we would be able to implement that program and we’re going to work as constructively as we can to help our friends in Colombia know exactly how to meet that and how we can be helpful, because there’s nothing that works better for both of us than to have quick and easy free access between us. So we’re going to do everything we can to meet those standards.”

In spite of Washington’s intention, “We have a long road to follow on this … and there’s a lot of work to do,” Holguin said.



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