WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Rick Scott (R-FL), Chair and Ranking Member of the Commerce Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion, are leading a new letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressing their support for certifying Israel as an eligible country for participation in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This certification would permit citizens from Israel to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism and stay for up to 90 days without first obtaining a U.S. visa.
The bipartisan letter was signed by a group of 18 U.S. Senators, including Rosen, Scott, and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mike Braun (R-IN), Cramer (R-ND), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Hoeven (R-ND), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Maggie Hassen (D-NH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Tim Scott (R-SC).
“We believe that adding Israel to the list of eligible countries would achieve the two explicit missions of the VWP program: to enhance national security and to boost the U.S. travel and tourism sector,” wrote the Senators. “Israel – our closest ally in the Middle East – is a perfect candidate for the Visa Waiver program.”
“Travel and tourism related industries drive job creation and economic growth in states across America, from Nevada to Florida and everywhere in between, where these industries and the workers they employ are absolutely essential to states’ prosperity,” the Senators’ letter continued. “According to the U.S. Travel Association, adding Israel to the VWP could add over 450,000 visitors from Israel to the U.S. over a three-year period, which is estimated to generate $3.6 billion in economic output and support approximately 6,000 American jobs. We urge the U.S. Department of State to formally nominate Israel for the VWP and DHS to use its authority to certify Israel as an eligible country for participation in the program.”