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Chertoff: U.S. to abolish visas requirement for Slovaks on November 17

The visa requirement for Slovaks travelling to the U.S. will end on the symbolic date of November 17, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák in Bratislava on October 28. November 17 is a public holiday in Slovakia that commemorates the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.

The visa requirement for Slovaks travelling to the U.S. will end on the symbolic date of November 17, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák in Bratislava on October 28. November 17 is a public holiday in Slovakia that commemorates the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.

People wishing to travel to the U.S. will still have to complete an ESTA (Electronic System Travel Authorization) questionnaire on the Internet and should be in possession of the latest type of passport containing biometric data - chips and digital photography. If they don't have this document, they will have to apply for a tourist visa. The Internet questionnaires will be evaluated automatically by the ESTA system, which will allow travel or prohibit it. Permissions to travel will be valid for two years, while one uninterrupted stay in the U.S. must not exceed three months.

Applicants for permits will have to supply a destination address and various other details of their trip. They will be obliged to state whether they have been previously prevented from traveling to the U.S. and whether they have worked in United States illegally or been convicted of serious crimes. The American authorities are also interested in the health of the applicant and any links with drugs or terrorism. Unsuccessful applicants for a permit will be invited for a personal interview at the U.S. embassy, where they will be able to discuss the information that led to the refusal.

Slovakia has a visa-free regime with 80 countries around the world, while 110 states still require Slovaks to apply for visa. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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