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Rep. Foster Joins Bipartisan Move to Reform Visa Waiver Program

Feb 5, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) cosponsored the Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act introduced by Illinois Congressmen Mike Quigley (D-IL), Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL).  The bill would open up the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to include allies like Poland while enhancing national security and streamlining the process.

“It’s time to modernize the Visa Waiver Program and create a more streamlined and reasonable process for important allies like Poland.  Opening up the process and giving Polish citizens a path to visa-free travel brings more tourism revenue to the United States and gives Poland the same privileges our other allies already receive,” said Foster.  “This is just the kind of commonsense, bipartisan legislation we need.”   

Under the VWP, foreign nationals from participating countries can travel in the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.  There are currently 37 countries eligible for the VWP.  The legislation would update the eligibility criteria to open the door for Poland’s inclusion.  The bill also makes modifications to enhance national security and streamline the entry process.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, 17 million travelers from countries in the VWP came to the US and spent nearly $61 billion – generating $9 billion in tax revenues and supporting 433,000 American jobs.  Expanding the VWP would increase revenues and support jobs.

Similar legislation has been introduced in both the 111th and 112th Congresses and has received support from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Hotel and Lodging Association, and National Retail Federation.

In addition to Foster, the House bill is supported by Illinois Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Brad Schneider (D-IL), John Shimkus (R-IL).