American and Romanian Partners: The Visa Waiver Program

American and Romanian Partners: The Visa Waiver Program

3 minutes

Romanian passport owners may no longer need to apply for tourist-type visas to visit the US.

As an immigration attorney with a business/corporate legal background, I facilitate new business and foreign investment in US ventures by helping people obtain a visa or green card. I counsel entrepreneurs and foreign investors, eager to contribute to a diverse, flourishing and dynamic American society, culture and economy. As a US immigrant myself, I am sensitive to the specific needs of different cultures. I provide legal representation in English, Spanish, French and Romanian; my team helps with Russian and Ukrainian. I care deeply about human rights and help those fleeing persecution or armed conflict in their home countries, by securing refugee, asylum, humanitarian parole or temporary protected status.

In this edition of See Beyond Magazine, I am pleased to share that we are on a positive track in regard to US travel. After fulfilling conditions for admission, Romania will probably be able to enter the US Visa Waiver Program in January of 2024. Then, Romanian passport owners will no longer need to apply for tourist-type visas to visit the US. This is a big step forward in the thriving US-Romania Strategic Partnership. It allows any Romanian citizen, who is not a criminal, national security threat or US immigration law violator, a 90-day visit to the US for business, personal, medical, or tourism reasons, simply by registering online with the ESTA platform.

Even though ESTA makes it easier to visit the US, it also makes it harder to stay, work and immigrate. The current B-1/B-2 visa allows for a 6-month visit, instead of only the 90 days with ESTA. Additionally, on US soil, ESTA offers no extension, change of status to another visa type, or adjustment of status to a green card, except for spouses and parents of adult US citizens.

For help understanding these opportunities, contact an immigration attorney.

American and Romanian Partners: The Visa Waiver Program

Travelers who come across those kinds of needs must leave the US and return with a new visa/green card from a US Consulate abroad. Penalties for ESTA violations are also more severe, such as an expedited removal with no opportunity for a hearing before an immigration judge.

For Romania to enter the US Visa Waiver Program, the overall B-1/B-2 visa rejection rate must stay below 3%. Because of this, we encourage B-1/B-2 visa renewals since they stand the highest chance of approval. Keep in mind that a successful candidate profile includes ties to the Romanian homeland and other factors that demonstrate no intention or likelihood of abusing the visa.

ALL Romanians everywhere, whose visa has expired for no more than 4 years, should apply for B-1/B-2 visa renewal to secure another 10-year B-1/B-2 visa with a 6-month stay, before that option is eliminated under ESTA. The online application process is easy. Go to the US Embassy in Romania website: ro.usembassy.gov/visa-renewal-09282023.

But you should not apply for a new B-1/B-2 visa in 2024 if you are in a category that often garners a high rate of denials, such as Romanians living and working outside of Romania, or those who are young, unmarried and unemployed, or otherwise lack property, family, employment, or educational ties to Romania.

If in doubt, please consider postponing your first B-1/B-2 application until after October 1, 2024. You may not even need a US visa starting in 2025. Until then, you will need to pursue the right visa for your particular situation. There are many choices, even between multiple types of work and tourist visas. For help understanding these opportunities, contact an immigration attorney. You’ll be glad you did!

American and Romanian Partners: The Visa Waiver Program