US May Waive Israel Visa Requirement

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A bill is working its way through the U.S. Congress that would end visa requirements for Israelis on tourist visits to America.

Under the bill, sponsored by Representative Brad Sherman, D-Calif., and Ted Poe, R-Tx., Israelis would not have to apply for a visa for visits up to 90 days.

The two congressmen said they hope the law will be changed within two years.

"Come to Texas. We want you here," said Poe. "It's surprising that Israelis can go to South America and Canada without a visa, but not to the U.S."

Representative Sherman believes that business between the two countries will be enhanced by the new law.

Israel has previously been listed as a "riskier" country for visa requests because the U.S. has rejected more than three percent of applications in the past. Israel has also not provided its citizens with biometric passports, but the Israeli government says it is moving toward creating such passports.

The congressmen say they have 45 co-sponsors for their bill in the House of Representatives. The House has approved Israel for the visa-free list in the past, but the measure was stopped in the Senate.

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