Meng Thanks Secretary of State John Kerry for Decreasing Widespread Denial of Visas for Israeli Citizens

Mar 30, 2016
Press Release

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, thanked Secretary of State John Kerry for decreasing the widespread denial of U.S. visas to Israeli citizens.

In 2014, Meng complained to Kerry about the reduction of visas granted to Israelis who were seeking to visit the United States. After sending a letter to Kerry on the matter and urging him to end the high rejection rates, the State Department agreed to address the problem, and implemented steps to improve the visa process for Israelis.

According to the latest State Department statistics, the refusal rate of visas for Israelis was 3.85% in fiscal year 2015, down from 8.2% in fiscal year 2014 and 8.6% in fiscal year 2013. In fiscal year 2007, the denial rate was just 2.5%.

“I thank Secretary Kerry for this dramatic decline in visa rejection rates for Israeli citizens,” said Meng. “The high rate of refusals was extremely unfair. Israel is our dear friend and ally and there should not be barriers that impact the long standing tradition of Israelis visiting the United States. I appreciate Secretary Kerry for being responsive to the concerns I raised with him about this matter, and I hope that the refusal rates will not increase again.”

The Congresswoman also sent Kerry a short thank you note which can be viewed by clicking here.

In addition to serving on the full Foreign Affairs Committee, Meng is a member of the panel’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.