Malta looks to be on course to join America's coveted Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) by the end of the year, according to US sources in Brussels, Robbie Ragless reports in Global Visas . This will enable holders of Maltese passports to enter the US without a visa for periods of up to three months:
The island recently introduced biometric passports, and Washington appears to have acknowledged this as the final step before Maltese citizens are able to gain entry to the US without an American visa.
The process of Malta's entry into the VWP started earlier in the year when the island signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the US on the subject. Representatives from the US homeland security department carried out an inspection in Malta last month to assess whether the island met all the requirements for entry into the VWP.
Malta was one of the EU member states that joined in 2004, and as such it has been campaigning for years to have the US visa requirement removed, as is already the case with each of the older member states except Greece.
Security concerns raised by the US Congress have hindered progress on the issue, but it looks as though the wait is almost over. There is an intake for the VWP scheduled for mid-November although Malta's entry date has not yet been announced.