The AHEPAN - Winter/Spring 2010 - 11
Prime Minister George Papandreou made his first visit to Washington March 8-10. AHEPA is proud of the role it played to see Greece become a U.S. VWP nation. The organization, through its leadership, members, and staff, worked diligently, even through transition periods, in a team effort with Congress, federal agencies, media outlets, and other Greek American and trade organizations, to: • create awareness and raise visibility of the merits of Greece’s candidacy, • correct an unjust position taken by the Executive Branch, and • cooperate with other organizations to ensure the Visa Waiver Program—as a whole—became a more secure program that ultimately benefits the United States, its economy, and its relationships with its allies.
AHEPA commends the Greek government which worked hard to meet the United States’ strict security criteria over the past four years. Likewise to be commended are Homeland Security, the State Department, and Congress. They all kept on top of the issue and remained engaged even when there were lulls in the process. Greek American media outlets kept the issue front-and-center of the community. Congratulations to the entire AHEPA staff for their support and hard work on this issue. Special note of thanks go to previous Director of Communications Michael Zachariades, and Government Relations Consultant Andrew Kaffes, who were all personally saluted by Supreme President Karacostas for their efforts over the years. In closing, AHEPA sincerely appreciates the efforts of each individual or organization who contributed to help make Greece’s designation into the United States Visa Waiver Program a monumental success.
united States designates Greece a Visa Waiver program member nation
basic Facts to Know
The United States’ designation of Greece as a visa waiver nation is truly a significant moment in the long-standing strategic relationship between the U.S. and Greece. It further strengthens the existing relationship between the two NATO allies, it fosters increased trade, commerce, and tourism; it enhances security standards and information sharing; and finally, it is a tremendous source of pride for the Greek American community, making it easier for relatives to visit especially on a moment’s notice. For all these reasons, AHEPA championed Greece’s designation to become a visa waiver nation. Below is a basic set of facts that explains what it means for Greek citizens now that Greece has been designated a visa waiver nation. 1. Greek citizens are able to visit the United States without visas beginning April 5th, 2010. 2. Greek citizens are permitted to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa for purposes of tourism or business only. Visits for purposes of attending school or working do not apply in the Visa Waiver Program. 3. Greek citizens will be required to apply for an Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA) through the Web-based system. 4. Greek citizens can apply/register with ESTA immediately. Visit esta.cbp.dhs.gov to apply. 5. Registration with ESTA lasts for two years unless your passport expiration date is within that two-year period; then it lasts as long as the passport does. 6. A new ESTA is required if basic biographical information changes (i.e., a name change due to marriage).
Source: Department of Homeland Security, http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1268162593062.shtm