US extends visa validity for Palestinian travelers to five years

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

A Palestinian man at the Rafah border crossing holds his Palestinian Authority issued passport on June 12, 2015. (Aaed Tayeh/Flash90)
A Palestinian man at the Rafah border crossing holds his Palestinian Authority issued passport on June 12, 2015. (Aaed Tayeh/Flash90)

The US State Department announces that it is extending the visa validity period for Palestinian travelers to the United States from three to five years.

The extension will allow for the visa period to last the same amount of time as the validity of a Palestinian Authority passport, which is also five years.

This policy only applies to the validity of the visa, not the length of stay allotted for Palestinian travelers. Those on a B1 business visa or a B2 tourist visa will still only be allowed to remain in the US for three months at a time, but will be able to do so multiple times during the five-year period.

The extension went into effect on Tuesday, the State Department says, while clarifying that the policy is not retroactive.

“The increase of the validity period to five years reflects the United States’ commitment to facilitating Palestinian tourist, educational and business travel. It will allow Palestinians more opportunities to reconnect with family members in the United States and to travel for studies. The increased period of validity will also allow new opportunities for bilateral economic cooperation,” says the US Office of Palestinian Affairs.

 

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