U.S. Travel Applauds Presidents Obama and Rousseff for Commitment to Visa Waiver Program; Hails Opening of New Consulates in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre
April 9, 2012
Washington, DC - The U.S. Travel Association today applauded U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for committing to work together so that Brazil meets the requirements for entrance into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Additionally, the association hailed today’s announcement that consulates would soon be opened in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre.
“We applaud Presidents Obama and Rousseff for their commitment to facilitating visa-free travel, and we are greatly encouraged to hear the State Department is opening two new consulates in Brazil,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Brazilians who come to the U.S. are walking stimulus packages, and today’s announcement positions the U.S. for additional jobs and economic growth. We look forward to Brazil quickly satisfying the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program.”
Citizens from VWP countries may visit the U.S. for 90 days without obtaining a non-immigrant visitor visa. To participate in the VWP, countries must be certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as meeting stringent security standards.
The U.S. is a top destination for Brazilians, welcoming 1,198,000 travelers in 2010 that spent on average $4,940 while in the U.S. President Obama announced a directive earlier this year to accelerate the processing of visas in Brazil by 40 percent in 2012. Additionally, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today the State Department would open new consulates in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre.
To match increasing demand, the State Department has successfully worked to reduce visa interview wait times in Brazil. It has also committed to adding processing capacity by investing $40 million in existing facilities in Brazil, increasing consular staffing and streamlining the visa process.
Expansion of the VWP and additional consulates were two of U.S. Travel’s recommendations in its May 2011 “Ready for Takeoff” report on the U.S. visa system.
Cathy Keefe 202-408-2183
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $1.9 trillion in economic output and supports 14.4 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. V