Netanyahu sees Israel joining U.S. Visa Waiver Programme in September
Israel expects to join the U.S. Visa Waiver Programme in September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, after Israeli legislation of measures required by Washington.
The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem had no immediate comment on Netanyahu's announcement, which came as tensions spiked between the allies over a contested Israeli judicial overhaul plan.
The embassy said on Jan. 30 that Israel met its requirement of being below the 3% non-immigrant refusal rate - a reference to the number of applicants turned away due to faulty paperwork.
Before Netanyahu's announcement, his national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, said on Twitter that parliament was due to ratify the last of four bills "that will advance us toward getting the U.S. visa waiver for the citizens of Israel".
That appeared to refer to the Knesset plenum's approval in final readings on Wednesday of a law setting up a new national immigration database linked with airline passenger manifests.
Washington had previously called for greater access to databases in Israel about its travelers to the United States.