Romania on Track to Join US Visa Waiver Program by December 2025

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    Romania is set to achieve a significant milestone in its international relations with the United States. By December 2025, Romanian citizens are expected to enjoy visa-free travel to the US for stays of up to 90 days. This move comes as Romania progresses towards meeting the criteria for the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

    Key Developments

    Expected Admission Date

    Romania’s ambassador to the US, Dan-Andrei Muraru, announced that the official admission of Romania to the VWP is anticipated in January 2024. Consequently, starting from December 2025, Romanians will be able to travel to the US without needing a visa.

    Visa Refusal Rate Requirement

    A critical requirement for joining the VWP is maintaining a visa refusal rate of less than 3%. In 2021, Romania’s refusal rate was slightly above 10%. However, ongoing efforts are aimed at reducing this rate to meet the necessary threshold.

    Government Initiatives

    Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu has confirmed that the announcement of Romania’s entry into the visa-free program is expected in 2024. This will precede the 2025 deadline set in discussions with US officials.

    To bolster its bid, Romania plans to sign two key agreements with the US. These agreements will focus on the exchange of information and cooperation in combating crimes, both of which are prerequisites for VWP membership.

    Optimism from Romanian Officials

    Romania’s Foreign Minister, Luminita Odobescu, has expressed confidence that Romania will achieve the required 3% visa rejection rate by the end of 2023. She described the 2025 target for visa-free travel as “achievable.”

    Implications for Romanian Citizens

    • Ease of Travel: By joining the VWP, Romanian citizens will be able to visit the US for tourism or business purposes without the lengthy visa application process.
    • Economic and Cultural Benefits: Enhanced travel freedom is expected to foster closer economic ties and cultural exchanges between the two nations.

    Steps to Achieve Visa-Free Status

    • Reduce Visa Refusal Rate: Continued efforts to lower the refusal rate to below 3%.
    • Sign Bilateral Agreements: Formalize agreements on information exchange and crime prevention with the US.
    • Maintain Compliance: Ensure ongoing adherence to VWP criteria, including security and law enforcement standards.

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