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How is it possible to visit USA without tourist visa?  This is the landscape

How is it possible to visit USA without tourist visa? This is the landscape

On Monday, October 17, the British Ambassador to Colombia, George Hodgson, announced the abolition of tourist visas for Colombians for six months starting November 9. The confirmation raised expectations about the possibility of implementing the same measure with the United States, and the following day the government of President Gustavo Pedro made a formal request.

Luis Gilberto Murillo, the Colombian ambassador to the country, implemented a request to make visas more flexible for Colombians wishing to travel. However, this request is not accidental, it is about the reactivation of the process that started in 2014 during the government of Juan Manuel Santos and his Minister of Foreign Affairs María Ángela Holguin.

At that time, the matter was put on the table and, in principle, it was possible to extend the tourist visa from five to ten years, which was appreciated by the Colombian government and the citizens who held the most valid document. Time. Although this is a first step, as it is a long-term process, Colombia is looking for a way to remove this migration barrier.

Over the years, representatives of the two countries have continued to work, but different factors prevented the final decision. In fact, the last meetings were held in 2019. With President Pedro’s visit to Casa de Norino, the process was reactivated and on Friday, October 21, the first meeting was held at the United States Department of Homeland Security to exchange technical issues.

The elimination of tourist visas for entry into the United States has not yet been defined. The process is very careful. – Photo: Getty Images / istock

Although the process is not easy, these meetings are undoubtedly the precursor to the demand study and its reliability is limited. On October 28, another key meeting will be held in Washington to develop a road map with technical teams, which will reactivate the bilateral diplomatic mission. The State Department’s participation in existing and future high-level meetings will be limited. However, getting a tourist visa for Colombians requires overcoming a number of challenges that will unfold little by little.

The first of these is to reduce the visa rejection rate of nationals performing the procedure, in many cases denials are prompted by ignorance of the requirements or by profit-driven companies. For this reason, the first challenge of the Pedro government is to carry out educational campaigns so that those requesting the document are sure that they meet the requirements.

If that challenge is overcome, the U.S. will consider visa waivers, assuming Colombians are informed of their country’s immigration regulations and abide by the rules for entering and exiting their territory.

Another challenge, which is President Pedro’s responsibility, is to moderate the language, for example, the president said “America is ruining all the economies of the world”, so diplomatic work and high-level meetings will be of no use if the Colombian president sends this kind of message.

Senate President Roy Barreras has hinted at the possibility of eliminating US tourist visas. – Photo: week

Congress leader Roy Barreras, who has received a Congress delegation from the country, knows that relations must be handled cautiously and that he must intervene in the dispute. “The relationship with the United States must be fraternal, based on trust and mutual respect,” the congressman said, adamant that attacks against the Biden administration would not allow the process to move forward.

Visa waivers for Colombians will certainly not happen during this four-year period, but a solid foundation will be built to meet that demand. What could happen in two months is that the US Department of Immigration will have a direct presence in Colombia, which will help migrants cut down on time, as applications will not need to travel to the US. An issue of unfairness, because governments have thought of it at some point and in this bilateral environment that space will be recovered.

For now, countries are working on ways to speed up the processing of visas in Colombia; Establishing possible temporary work programs for citizens in the United States and reviewing the status of illegal immigrants detained at the border and deported from both countries. The cards are on the table and the government has to be careful how it is going to play because the process can be lost.

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