On April 4, 2019, U.S. Ambassador Pyatt signed a memorandum of cooperation between the United States and Greece on implementing Greece’s Passenger Name Record (PNR) law, building on understandings reached as part of law enforcement and counterterrorism discussions during the U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue in December 2018.
The use of PNR in traveler screening is an important part of Greece’s efforts to prevent terrorists, serious criminals, and other mala fide actors from traveling, in line with international and European Union obligations. Acknowledging this and other border security improvements and based on the memorandum, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will now initiate the process to restore the validity of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for Greek citizens traveling to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for business or pleasure for stays of up to 90 days. Previously, the United States issued ESTAs with a one-year validity to Greek citizens traveling under the VWP. In response to Greece’s cooperation and progress on implementing its PNR law, DHS is extending the validity of ESTAs issued to Greek citizens to the standard two years. This change will take place within 48 hours.
Ambassador Pyatt also acknowledged the visit of U.S. Department of State Principal Deputy Coordinator (PDC) for Counterterrorism Alina Romanowski. The State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau is supporting implementation of the PNR cooperation. Ambassador Pyatt and PDC Romanowski both welcomed Greece’s continued efforts under the Visa Waiver Program.
For more information on the Visa Waiver Program and updates on the status of the new two year validity, please visit our website at https://gr.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-waiver-program/.