The Joe Biden administration said Wednesday that it will grant Israeli citizens the privilege of traveling to the United States without a visa.
According to a joint statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State, Israel’s admission into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) will take effect on Nov. 30.
Citizens of countries enrolling in the VWP, which is managed by the DHS, are allowed to enter the United States visa-free for tourism and business purposes and stay for up to 90 days.
As a reciprocal step, U.S. citizens may apply to enter Israel for tourism, business or transit without a visa and stay in the country for up to 90 days.
In the case of Israel, a key concern for the United States before designating that Israel is eligible for the VWP is Israel’s entry policies toward Palestinian-Americans.
The DHS monitored Israel’s compliance with the VWP requirement to extend reciprocal privileges to all U.S. citizens “and engaged with Palestinian-Americans both living in the West Bank and living in the United States, who now have the ability to enter Israel visa free,” read the joint statement.
A group of 15 Democratic senators wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sept. 8 to express their opposition to Israel’s VWP designation.
Citing Israeli authorities’ restrictive entry policies to U.S. passport holders with Gaza IDs, the senators said “it is clear that Israel is not in compliance with” reciprocal treatment for all U.S. citizens that the VWP requires.
“As is the process with all VWP countries, the U.S. government will continue to engage with the government of Israel while monitoring its continued implementation of all program requirements, including the reciprocity commitments,” the joint statement said.