The Polish flag carrier LOT Polish Airlines is expected to be one the main winners from the Polish government’s decision to build a mega airport in the vicinity of Warsaw by 2027. Ultimately, the Central Communication Port will have a capacity to serve 100 million passengers a year. LOT is hoping that the airline will serve many of the passengers travelling between USA and Central Eastern Europe, using the new airport as a regional hub. For that to happen, introducing visa-free travel for Poles to the U.S. will most likely be necessary.
To improve the chances of that happening, LOT has launched an information campaign aimed toward decreasing the number of Polish rejected visa applications to the US to under 3% of all applications. Such a low number would make it possible for Poland to finally enter the Visa Waiver Program and as a result, Poles would be able to fly to the US without having to spend money, time and stress on the visa application process.
The 3% target of rejected visa applications is within reach and LOT has decided to push the process in the right direction. With the use of a new of a new website – www.bezwizdousa.pl – dedicated to the campaign, LOT walks Poles eager to travel to the US through the process of choosing the correct form of visa and information needed by the US consulate in Poland to issue a visa.
Many are nervous about having to schedule an appointment at the US consulate and believe that the chances of receiving a visa are slim. The interview with the consul is in reality a mere formality and is not complicated at all.
It is however necessary to prepare for it. As part of the procedure of applying for a visa, the traveller needs to set up a profile on cgifederal.secure.force.com, fill out all the fields and decide on a password. The next step on the same page is to schedule the appointment with the consulate. The information needed for that includes the passport number, the specific visa fee number and a 10-digit bar code received earlier during the visa application. Personal data needs to be given and the type of visa needs to specified. Following that, it is possible choose the date and time of the meeting with the consul. There is no need to be disheartened by the line in the consulate or embassy as the process is very quick.It is important to bring a valid passport, a printout of the scheduled appointment and a printout of the filled out DS-160 form. The conversation with the consul usually lasts a few minutes.
Conducting the interview in English is recommended and appreciated, but the officials also know Polish. The traveller may be asked to provide details such as to the places we intend to visit and the planned travel route. The officials may also ask about previous trips to other countries and how the traveller plans on financing the stay in America. Other often asked questions include information about the person’s education or history of employment.If everything goes well,and it usually does, a promise to issue the visa is given. It will take a couple of days before the visa arrives and can either be picked up at the consulate or delievered by a courier.
Increasing the number of flights and routes to the US is a priority for LOT. The carrier served almost 9 million passengers in 2018, a 100 percent increase since 2016. The airline has added 66 new routes since 2016, bringing up the total number of routes to 107. Possible travel destinations in the US from Poland include New York City, Newark, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami.
The new US Ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, stated recently that she believes that visa-free travel will be feasible as early as next year. LOT and tens of thousands of Poles interested in booking their first transatlantic vacation are certainly keeping their fingers crossed for such an outcome.