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Support for Visa Waiver for Czechs

One of the last impediments to full and reciprocal relations between the Czech Republic and the United States was the requirement, lasting almost two decades after the Velvet Revolution, that Czech citizens obtain visas to visit the United States.  Americans, meanwhile, were free to travel to the Czech Republic.  The requirement was provoking anti-U.S. antagonism among Czechs and adversely impacted Americans wishing to invite Czech friends and relatives.

A June 2007 Hudson Institute Panel stressed the urgency including Central Europe in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), enables nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.  AFoCR strongly advocated for the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the VWP, and in October 2008, President Bush announced that the Czech Republic and six other countries would be included as of November 17, 2008, the 19th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

"It is really the biggest success we could achieve," said Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek. "It is a removal of the last relic of communism and the Cold War, so I am very happy."

In September 2012, AFoCR Director George Drost interviewed Czech Consul General in Chicago Ambassador Dana Huňátová about the VWP and its implementation stage.  She commented: "The fact that no material problems or incidents have occurred means that we can consider this program a success. With freedom of travel less restricted, a wish list could be developed to create better travel options and ultimately better commercial opportunities for the US and the CR that share so many positive traits.  Perhaps a good start would be to have more direct flights from the Czech Republic to the US."

See the answers to the following questions on the State Department web site.