Israelis can now travel to the United States for up to 90 days without a visa, the Biden administration announced Thursday, fast-tracking a travel benefit that was previously scheduled to take effect on Nov. 30.
The accelerated time frame means that eligible Israelis looking to flee the Israel-Hamas war will be able to get to the U.S. sooner than expected, without having to go through the typical process to apply for a visa, which can delay travel.
Last month, the Homeland Security and State departments announced that Israel would be added to its visa-waiver program, an agreement between the U.S. and 40 other countries that allows citizens to travel without the hassle of getting a visa. At the time, the Biden administration set a Nov. 30 date for when Israelis could begin applying online for the new program.
To participate, countries must share information about passengers faster, including providing names on passenger lists.
To be eligible, Israeli citizens and nationals must have a biometric passport. And they must commit to staying no longer than 90 days. The application comes with a $21 fee.
Allowing Israel into the program has been a decade-long process. Some prominent groups have objected to Israel being allowed into the program out of concerns that the Israeli government would not treat Palestinian Americans equally.