As of Saturday, 23 October Croatians can travel to the United States for business or tourism purposes without visas, after obtaining approval via the online Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, the US Embassy in Zagreb said.
In a statement to the media, Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy, Mark Fleming, expressed satisfaction that Croatians now have the opportunity to travel to the USA without visas.
Croatia has entered the Visa Waiver Programme, a comprehensive security partnership between the United States and participating countries that enables travel to the USA for business or tourism purposes in the duration of up to 90 days, with national security being protected in the process.
This was a long process but it was worthwhile and we congratulate the Croatian government on successfully meeting the strict conditions of entry into the Visa Waiver Programme, Fleming said, expressing satisfaction that this would deepen the ties between the United State and Croatia.
For a country to enter the VWP, it must meet criteria regarding the fight against terrorism, law enforcement, immigration, document security and border management, and the percentage of rejected visa applications must be below 3%, which Croatia met only recently.
Application via ESTA is possible any time before travel but the US Homeland Security Department recommends that travellers apply as soon as possible, and 72 hours before travel at the latest, the US Embassy says.
Passengers from VWP countries, and Croatians qualify as of today, do not have to present a specific travel itinerary before applying via ESTA.
Application via ESTA is generally valid for two years.
Passengers with valid B1/B2 visas should continue using their visas when travelling to the USA, the embassy notes.