Polish American Congress head expresses satisfaction at visa waiver

Spula said the Polish American Congress had fought for many years to have the visa requirement lifted. Jacek Turczyk/PAP

Frank J. Spula, the president of America's largest Polish diaspora organisation, the Polish American Congress, said in a telephone conversation with PAP that he is satisfied that US President Donald Trump "kept his word" regarding lifting visas for Poles.

Spula said the Polish American Congress had fought for many years to have the visa requirement lifted. "I remember how since 2003 the Polish American Congress has officially sought the support of every president in this matter," Spula said. "I'm thinking of President (George W.) Bush, President (Barack) Obama, President (Bronislaw) Komorowski, how they promised, they promised that 'it will be sorted out.'"

"I remember perfectly how President Barack Obama promised, or rather I should say 'led us to believe' that Poland would be covered by the visa-free programme. But only now President Trump, who during meetings at the time of his pre-election campaign at our headquarters (in September 2016 in Chicago - PAP) said that if he won the elections he would get Poland into the Visa Waiver Program 'within a few weeks.' Of course in such a short time it was not possible, but he finally kept his word. For that I congratulate and thank President Trump!"

Other Polish diaspora organisations and Polish figures in the US also welcomed the news of Poland being accepted into the Visa Waiver Program. The CEO of Poland's flagship air carrier PLL LOT, Rafal Milczarski, in New York for the 'Congress of 60 million' diaspora event, recognised the development as a success for all those who had been engaged in the process.

"I would like to thank on this occasion all our passengers, all the companies who have cooperated with LOT in the 'No visa to the USA' campaign, of which we were the initiators, organisers and coordinators. Very many Polish as well as American companies were engaged in it," he said, specifying Mastercard and Boeing coordinating a campaign of delegating their Polish employees striving for visas.

The LOT CEO predicted that following the lifting of the visa requirement, there would be a significant increase in interest of travelling to the USA for tourism.