No serious difficulties have arisen and cooperation with the Slovak Interior Ministry and Police Corps has functioned well since ESTA (the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) - a system for Slovaks travelling to the U.S.A. - was launched in October 2008, Keith Eddins, chargé d'affaires of the US Embassy in Slovakia told the TASR newswire on April 2.
The American diplomat pointed out that more than a thousand Slovaks have been filling out ESTA applications to visit the US every month since the visa-free regime began. The previous visa requirement for Slovaks travelling to the US was ended on November 17 last year, but Slovaks still need to obtain visa for work and study and visas for sportsmen and artists.
Eddins said, however, that not all Slovaks understand that to travel as tourists to the US they must follow the instructions carefully and complete the ESTA form in an appropriate manner. Approximately 95 percent of the applicants have met the conditions but the others failed to complete the document properly. This is why the embassy intends to cooperate further with Slovak authorities to raise public awareness of the new system.
Speaking about US President Barack Obama's current trip to Europe, Eddins said that its timing is perfect. By attending key political events - the G20 Summit, the NATO Summit and the informal EU-US Summit - Obama is making it clear that America is committed to dialogue with its partners and allies all over the world to tackle global problems.
Eddins also pointed out that by his trip to the summit in Prague, the president is sending a message to central Europe. Eddins praised the good level of Slovak-American relations and the wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries, and drew attention to Slovakia's contribution to operations in Afghanistan. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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