Shaked: ‘Progress’ on Agreement to Waive Visas to United States
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced Monday that Israel and the United States are in the final stages of formulating an agreement by which Israeli citizens would no longer require a visa in order to visit the US.
“We are finalizing a deal to cancel the visas,” Shaked Tweeted Monday morning, “Since I entered my post (as justice minister), we’ve been working with the Americans in order to join the select group of states whose citizens are exempt from obtaining a visa to enter the US.”
A major aspect of the deal is Israel granting the United States access to its biometric database – a common practice for any country hoping for a visa agreement with the US. Regarding fears about the sharing of information, Shaked said only that “we have found the balance between guarding the privacy of Israeli citizens, and the American requirements.”
Despite the announcement, the deal will only take effect within a year or two, and even that is anything but certain: One of the American requirements for the deal to be signed is that the rate of Israelis whose visas are denied drop below 3%. In 2016, however, it was as high as 4.1% – due mostly to the large number of Israelis attempting to enter the US in order to work illegally.