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US Envoy, Bulgaria's FM Sign Visa Waiver Road Map

Date: 27.01.2006

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin and US Ambassador to Bulgaria John Beyrle signed a Visa Waiver Road Map.

Still, Ambassador Beyrle pointed out that the visa regime would not be lifted over the next few years.

The signing of this document is an important step towards a common goal - that Bulgarian tourists be able to travel without visas to the United States. The Road Map which is a result of the concerted efforts of a Bulgarian-American Consular Working Group established last spring sets out the steps that the Bulgarian Government needs to take in order to comply with the requirements of the US Congress for acceptance into the Visa Waiver Program.

The main criteria for a country to qualify for the Visa Waiver Program are: sufficient economic stability; a very low refusal rate; effective and reliable law enforcement activity; effective border control; secure travel documents; efficient and reliable system for reporting lost or stolen passports. Each country that meets these requirements, must then be granted approval by the US Congress in order to enter the program.

While the government of Bulgaria has made a substantial progress in many of the aforementioned areas, the Road Map reiterates concrete requirements and sets forth specific tasks and standards for measuring progress. Bulgaria and the United States of America will work together to promote further the cooperation, discussion, and effective communication and information between the Consular Relation Directorate of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the United States.

Sofia News Agency

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