21 Jan 2009

CNMI representative disappointed over new Guam-CNMI visa waiver programme

11:49 am on 21 January 2009

A representative in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Gregorio Sablan, says he is disappointed China and Russia were not included in the new Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver programme.

He says he will work with Department of Homeland Security officials to make sure the necessary security measures will be in place fully to be able to add these two countries.

Last week, the interim final rule for the visa waiver programme was published, stating that China and Russia would not be included.

The new visa waiver rules will go into effect on June the 1st, with a possible delay of up to six months.

Local officials, business and tourism leaders, and community members expressed disappointment with the decision, saying the exclusion will harm the CNMI's economy during an already difficult period.