The new route to Miami is seen as the next major step in the Polish airline's plan to expand its long haul operations in general and to USA in particular. The new route is welcome news for the 500 000 Polish-Americans living in the state of Florida but also for Polish tourists who are increasingly interested in visiting the "Sunshine state".
LOT's planned expansion on the American market is hampered by the visa requirement for Polish citizens travelling to the U.S. In order to remedy the situation LOT has launched an information campaign aimed to decrease the number of rejected visa applications due to poorly filled out applications. If the number falls below 3%, Poland will be allowed to enter the Visa Waiver Program which will allow swifter, less complicated and cheaper travel to the U.S. for Polish citizens.
The LOT campaign "Without visas to the USA" launched by LOT, includes the website www.bezwizdousa.pl, where it's possible to learn how to meet the required criteria for being issued a visa USA.
The main hurdle is to fill out the DS-160 form online but some travellers also have problem issues with paying for their visa application. Persons applying for a nonimmigrant visa are required to pay a fee which is non-returnable, regardless of whether a visa will be granted in the end ord not.
It is worth finding out whether one belongs to a catagory of travellers that is entitled to an exemption from this fee before paying it. That can be done at http://ustraveldocs.com/pl_pl. Polish citizens normally pay the fee after converting the total sum from dollars to PLN. For the most popular tourist visa, it is 160 dollars, or around 630 Zloty.
The payments is made online via a credit or debit card. It's worth using the webpage mentioned above to find out when the fee will be active and which mistakes to avoid. The most common mistake is to pay in the wrong currency. To make a payment, create a profile and log in to the online appointment system. Once this is done, select the option "New application / Set appointment". The program will take you to the page where you choose the payment option. Once you are on the payment page, continue by clicking on the link "To view the available online payment options, click HERE". There, the traveller will find detailed information about all available payment methods.
In the end, a CGI reference number or confirmation number is given. Without the CGI reference number or confirmation number it will not be possible to schedule an appointing at the local US consulate for a meeting regarding being issued a visa. After paying the visa fee, you can set the date of the meeting in accordance with the information provided in the table "Time of activation of the fee for processing the visa application". If you are not automatically redirected, log in to the previously created profile and use the CGI reference number or confirmation number to set the appointment.
The meeting at the US consulate is a pure formality and as long as the traveller brings all necessary documents to the meeting, a visa will be issued within days. After that, the doors to USA are open for the traveller.
Depending on where you want to go, LOT Polish Airlines offers passengers a comfortable flight onboard a Dreamliner : from Warsaw: to New York (JFK and Newark), Chicago and Los Angels, from Budapest to JFK and Chicago, from Krakow to Chicago and from Rzeszów to Newark.
If enough Poles manage to fill out the visa forms correctly, visa-free travel for Poles could become a reality as early as in 2020.
Author: Adam Starzynski
Source: Poland Daily