10 January, 2004
The Greek government on Friday said it has lodged a protest with the US embassy’s charge d’ affaires over the fact that Greek citizens, alone amongst European Union citizens, are not excluded from new rules requiring that all visa-bearing visitors to the United States to be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival.
However, spokesman Christos Protopapas stressed that Athens has accelerated procedures to change the way passports are issued in Greece, namely, to shift responsibility from prefectural authorities to police – the primary reason Washington still maintains the visa requirement for Greek citizens wishing to enter the United States.
The latest US requirements apply to citizens of more than 150 nations that are not part of the so-called “Visa Waiver Program”, which allows people from 27 mainly European countries to enter the United States without a visa.
Protopapas appeared confident that the visa requirement will be lifted once Greek authorities have overhauled the passport issuing process.
Source: Athens News Agency