21 Dec 2009

Foreign airline crews travelling to CNMI still require visas despite waiver programme

2:41 pm on 21 December 2009

The Northern Marianas member of the US Congress, Gregorio Camacho Sablan, says the US State Department will offer expedited processing of US visas for crew members of airlines signed on to the new visa waiver programme for the CNMI.

This comes after a recent ruling by the US Department of Homeland Security that from this month, Russian and Chinese tourists will be allowed visa-free entry into the CNMI to stay up to 45 days.

However, foreign pilots and crew of airlines travelling to the CNMI still require visas.

Our correspondent, Mark Rabago, says it's one of several aspects of the program which officials are trying to address.

"What the Department of Homeland Security did in place was to come up with a parole system wherein before they come in, they would be cleared in advanced. There was a problem initially, so we didn't have some tourists for a few weeks. but they're trying to fix that now and I hope it goes through."

Mark Rabago