The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Department of Justice (DOJ) have signed an agreement on Enhancing Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Serious Crime (the PCSC Agreement) with the Estonian Minister of Interior.
“This agreement will benefit citizens in both countries, and I commend our Estonian partners for taking a critical step toward reaching the shared goal of an expanded and more secure Visa Waiver Program,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
“This agreement will jointly enable law enforcement officers on both sides to investigate crime more quickly and efficiently, and will help to further prevent criminal and terrorist travel.”
Earlier this year, the two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding Estonia’s candidacy for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that required, among other things, an agreement between the countries on information sharing for certain criminal activity.
The security enhancements outlined in the first declaration represent important requirements of the modernized VWP. The requirements include better information sharing about international travel, border screening improvements in information exchange on known and suspected terrorists, timely and comprehensive reporting of lost and stolen passports, and strengthened airport and aviation security.
Signing the PCSC Agreement is the final substantive step on Estonia’s part to fulfil its requirements for designation as a member of the VWP.
The VWP allows travellers from a number of countries to travel to the United States for short tourist or business trips without the requirement of obtaining a visa. Currently, 27 countries participate in the VWP, including several members of the European Union.