US announces Visit Visa waiver for Russian nationals visiting Guam

The US Department of Homeland Security has announced that Russian nationals visiting Guam will be able to come under the US visit visa waiver scheme, but they did not immediately announce a timeline for when the new policy would go into place.

The announcement from DHS came last week and states the new policy will permit Russian visitors to visit Guam without US visas for up to 45 days. The visa waiver will also allow, on a case-by-case basis, eligible Russian nationals to visit the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) for tourism.

It is important to note, however, that the visa waiver program for Russian tourists is only valid in Guam and CNMI. Russian citizens wishing to visit other parts of the US still need to apply for a US B-1/B-2 visit visa for their trip.

President Barack Obama personally informed Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo that Russia will be added to the list of countries able to visit Guam without a visa during a meeting last week.

Bordallo was happy with the new decision to grant Guam a visa waiver for Russian tourists and thanked President Obama for pushing DHS to carry out the process. She said, though, that she hopes DHS will soon add Chinese visitors to the visa waiver program.

DHS has not announced a timeline for implementing this new policy for Russians visiting Guam and hasn't made a final decision on allowing a visa waiver for Chinese nationals to travel to Guam, according to a release from Bordallo's office.

"We will build off this positive step forward and continue to press hard for inclusion of Chinese visitors. I look forward to our economy benefiting from increased visitors from the Russian Federation, and we can now work with the visitor industries in Guam and the CNMI to start to develop a regional marketing approach to drawing visitors from Russia." said Bordallo.

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