Trump approves Poland's entry to visa waiver program

Trump approves Poland's entry to visa waiver program
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE on Friday said he has approved granting Poland access to the State Department's Visa Waiver Program, making it easier for Polish citizens to travel to the United States.

Trump told reporters outside the White House that he had signed off on "preliminary" paperwork and would soon finalize the agreement with Poland. He had teased the announcement last week during a United Nations meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

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"They’ve been trying to get this for many, many decades, and I got it for the Polish people, in honor of the Polish people in the United States and in Poland," Trump said.

Under the waiver program, citizens of participating countries are able to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a U.S. visa. Poland has long sought to gain access to the program.

Thirty-eight countries are participating in the visa waiver program, including several close U.S. allies like France, Germany, Australia, Sweden and Japan.

White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamCNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview Trump turns Pelosi's 'meltdown' criticism around: 'She is a very sick person' War of words at the White House MORE said in a statement Friday that the Department of Homeland Security will assess Poland's entry into the visa waiver program now that Trump has given his approval.

"The bilateral relationship between the United States and Poland has never been stronger, and this would serve as a remarkable accomplishment for both countries," she said.

Trump was previously scheduled to travel to Poland in late August, where the waiver program was expected to be a point of discussion. He canceled that trip to monitor Hurricane Dorian, but met with Duda last week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

Trump said at the time that the two countries had to work out the visa waiver agreement "structurally," but that he expected it to come together quickly.

Poland and the U.S. have brokered an increased partnership on defense matters in recent months, with the U.S. agreeing to send additional troops to the country and Poland purchasing U.S. military equipment. Duda has joked that a new military installation there could be named "Fort Trump."

--Updated at 11:54 a.m.