TODAY COLOMBIA – Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Wednesday that the US has begun the process of eliminating the visa requirement for Colombians entering the country.

After a meeting with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Wednesday, President Santos confirmed in a press statement that the United States has already begun taking necessary steps to waive the visa requirement for Colombians.

Noting that that the process will take a long time, Santos told the press that procedures began last week in what is a “very important step” for Colombians, and publicly thanked the vice-president and government of the United States.

The Visa Waiver Program, established in 1986 as a temporary program, was signed into law in 2000 and now constitutes “one of a few exceptions under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in which foreign nationals are admitted into the United States without a valid visa,” according to the Congressional Research Service.

In March 2014, Chile joined the Visa Waiver Program, making it the only country in Latin America besides French Guiana to currently hold this status.