Visa Waiver Program for Poland
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I would like to share with you a personal story that happened very recently to my family. I have three young cousins, all students, who wanted to visit me and my family in the United States for the summer. All three of them are students in high school or college and had dream to visit our beautiful country and learn about the people here, culture and spend time with their family aboard. They all applied for a travel Visa at the same time as is required for Polish Citizens, since Poland is only one of five European Union Members required to obtain a travel visa. They all filled out their paperwork and submitted all required documents and paid their fees ($160.00/Person). The day of the interview came and only one out of three of them was given a Visa. The two that did not get a Visa, were simply told they did not have ties back home and therefore had no reason to return to Poland. They were very sad for a number of reasons; they had to take a trip for four hours to go to the interview in Krakow (which was only two minutes long), they had to pay a none-refundable fee and they were given no concrete answers as to why they were rejected so they would know what to do differently next time when they apply. Not only were they devastated, but their three younger cousins who had spent the previous summer with them, were also very sad they could not come and as a parent I could not give them a good explanation of the reasons why only one was allowed to visit.
The Visa travel policies specifically for Poland is very archaic, lacks transparency and one sided. All U.S. citizens are free to travel to Poland and every other EU country without restrictions. There is no transparency as to who, what or why someone does or does not get a Visa. Plus over the past decade or more, both under Obama administration and the current Trump administration Poland has given significant resources to America, both to help fight the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and also missile defense program within the Polish borders with seemingly no return on investment for Polish citizens, some of who have sacrificed their lives in American wars.
During the most current election cycle, President Trump made comments on a few occasions that he considers Poland to be a great ally and that he would fix the Visa travel issue within a few weeks of getting into office. Nearly 6 months later, no changes have been made, not even a mention of it from the white house and Polish people are still subject to the same restrictions and travel problems that existed with the prior administration. Reference two previous articles for more information on Trump's promises.
President Trump plans a visit to Poland this week and we are hoping that this visit won't end with the two presidents just shaking hands and taking sweet selfies. Rather we hope they actually announce some real changes that benefit the citizens of Poland and are not so one sided and don't treat Polish people like trash.
While the Visa travel policies that once existed, most likely, during the communism days are very outdated under current global climates. Poland is a much stronger and wealthier country, the European Union offers much more economic opportunity for them and their citizens than America can currently offer and have wisely opened their borders to all of their member countries.
There are a few things I'd like to accomplish with this:
a) To show American people how Polish nationals (U.S and Polish Citizens) are treated.
b) How one sided the Polish-American partnership is, from the eyes of the citizens whose lives are directly impacted.
c) Make changes to current Visa Travel policies and admit Poland into the Visa Waiver Program and prevent the people in the embassy on deciding Visa status based on their current mood.
Please sign the petition and get Poland added to the Visa Waiver Program, which would be a big step forward in the very one-sided Polish-American partnership.
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