This week, Republican Israel Caucus co-chair and Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL), became a cosponsor or H.R. 300, the Visa Waiver for Israel Act of 2013. The bipartisan bill would add Israel to the Visa Waiver Program, allowing Israelis to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a visa for tourism and business purposes.
"This is a great opportunity to enhance America's special relationship with our ally Israel," said Roskam. "Adding Israel to the Visa Waiver Program will strengthen the cultural and economic bond between our two nations. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to promote this mutually beneficial measure."
In order to be admitted to the program, a country must meet a number of security and other requirements, such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the U.S., according to the Department of State. Visa Waiver countries are also required to maintain high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control and document security standards.
Currently, Israelis must wait up to four months to be approved for a visa before entering the United States. Over 320,000 Israelis visited the United States in 2010, spending upwards of $1.4 billion. If accepted into the program, Israel would join the 37 other Visa Waiver countries.