The U.S. Travel Association applauded efforts from President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to include Brazil in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
The U.S. is a top destination for Brazilians, welcoming more than one million travelers in 2010 alone. Both presidents are working together to ensure Brazil meets the requirements for entry into the program.
Through the program, citizens will be able to visit the U.S. for 90 days without having to obtain a non-immigrant visitor visa. In order to be a part of the program, countries must be certified by the Department of Homeland Security after meeting security standards.
Earlier this year, Obama had also planned to speed up processing visas in Brazil by 40% in 2012 by reducing visa interview wait times and investing $40 million in existing facilities for added processing capacity. In addition, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the State Department plan to open new consulates in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre.
“Brazilians who come to the U.S. are walking stimulus packages, and today’s announcement positions the U.S. for additional jobs and economic growth,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “We applaud Presidents Obama and Rousseff for their commitment to facilitating visa-free travel, and we are greatly encouraged to hear the State Department is opening two new consulates in Brazil.”
The U.S. Travel Association is also in support of the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel Act, which aims at reforming visa processing standards.
The hearing, part of the process to reauthorize the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, was held by the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.