Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman on Thursday welcomed the fact that Croatian U.S. visa denials had fallen below 3%, saying the waiving of visas would enable undisturbed travel and facilitate connections as well as development of business ties with the United States.
Several months after it was confirmed that Croatia had fallen below 3% and met the key visa waiver requirement, the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy, Victoria Taylor, said on Tuesday that 2.69% of Croatian citizens' business and tourist visa applications had been denied.
"This is a sign that Croatia is in transatlantic relations at full capacity," Grlić Radman said, adding that the waiving of visas would enable "undisturbed travel of Croatian citizens to the U.S., contribute to easier connections as well as the development of business ties, all to the benefit of Croatian citizens as well as the scientific and business community."
Entering the U.S. visa waiver programme is one of Croatia's foreign policy priorities.
"That's a result of the efforts invested by Croatia's relevant bodies," the minister said. He was confident that those results "would have been achieved earlier" had there been no COVID-19 pandemic.
If the epidemiological situation allows, he said, officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will visit the Croatian Interior Ministry, probably at the end of March, "to evaluate certain security and technical dimensions of that procedure on the ground."
"Thereby the procedure confirming that all the requirements have been met could end soon," the minister added.