Romania needs to reduce the number of refused visa applications below the rate of 10% in order for the American government to consider allowing Romanians to travel to US without visa. Romanian Foreign Affairs minister Cristian Diaconescu said in a press conference on Tuesday that the solution to reach the 10% rate rests in technical details. Minister Diaconescu hopes to solve the issue by the end of this year. He has announced that Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs (MAE) intends to support citizens with the form fill-in process.
The chief or Romanian diplomacy has recently returned from Washington, where he discussed Romania’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Programme, a scheme that will allow Romanian citizens to travel to US without a visa. He has maintained the declaration made prior to his Washington visit, according to which Romania is considering eliminating the visa for US citizens by the end of 2009.
The President of US Foreign Affairs committee Richard Lugar said Romania was "on top of the agenda", meaning it has priority for inclusion in the Visa Waiver Programme. The present visa application rejection rate for Romanians is 25%. Still, Romanian Foreign Affairs minister insists it is only because of "technical reasons". He believes that by the end of 2009, Romania will be able to solve the problem and join the programme. One possible solution proposed by minister Diaconescu is to assist those applying for US visa with filling in the forms, so that errors leading to visa refusals could be avoided.
The technical details seem to address the US as well. The American congress decided in favour of testing the ability to collect biometric information. Thus, the visa refusal rate for the Visa Waiver Programme dropped to 3% until the informational system starts to function. The American diplomats could not specify a deadline in this case. Minister Diaconescu did not underline any specific measure to be taken, other than the "political and strategic availability to make the project feasible".