BC, Riga, 27.09.2012.
Almost 7000 residents of Latvia traveled to the United States visa-free in the first nine months of the year 2012, U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Mark Pekala informed LETA during an interview.
Approximately 6200 residents of Latvia traveled to the United States as tourists and 500 on business, added Pekala.
Altogether, this is almost 7000 people, which is a lot, said the ambassador, noting that the figure was much larger than in previous years.
Latvian citizens have been able to travel to the United States without a visa since 2008, and 34000 Latvians have registered with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization since then, said Pekala.
The ambassador, who participated in the work on the U.S. visa waiver programme in Washington in 2006, believes that the program has been successful, as attested by the increasing number of Latvians visiting the United States. At the same time, the ambassador declined to reveal how many residents of Latvia were refused entry in the United States without a visa. The ambassador said he did not know this, but he believed that it should be “very, very small number.”