President Donald Trump recently announced the U.S. Department of State has formally nominated Poland for entry into the Visa Waiver Program, a move The Heritage Foundation has advocated.
“We have a lot of Polish Americans living in the United States,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “That means that people from Poland can easily travel there, and people from here can easily go back and forth.”
The White House added, “The bilateral relationship between the United States and Poland has never been stronger, and this would serve as a remarkable accomplishment for both countries.”
The Visa Waiver program allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the United States for tourism and business for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa, according to the State Department. Poland’s nomination means the Department of Homeland Security will assess the country’s formal entry into the program.
“Heritage has been the leader on this issue, explaining the security, economic, and foreign policy benefits of the Visa Waiver Program to Congress and the Trump administration,” said David Inserra, who as a policy analyst in Heritage's Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy did extensive research on the importance of this decision.
In 2017, Inserra and Riley Walters, also a Heritage policy analyst, wrote the report, “President Trump and Congress Should Add Poland to the Visa Waiver Program.”
In addition to publishing multiple reports and commentaries, earlier this year Heritage hosted Ambassador Nathan Sales, coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department. He discussed the benefits of expanding the Visa Waiver Program.
In 2015, Heritage’s Steven Bucci testified before Congress on the basics and benefits of the program. “The Visa Waiver Program is a valuable tool supporting U.S. tourism and trade, public diplomacy, and national security,” Bucci told the House’s Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security in the Committee on Homeland Security.
And in December 2011, James Carafano, vice president of Heritage’s Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy and E.W. Richardson fellow, testified before Congress addressing the key issues in the next steps for the Visa Waiver Program.
Carafano concluded his remarks with an appeal to lawmakers. “I urge the Congress to decouple the Visa Waiver Program from the biometric exit program, rethink the metrics for qualification for the Visa Waiver Program, and urge the administration to expand the program to qualified nations as rapidly as practical.”