On October 17, 2008 President George W. Bush announced that the Czech Republic would be among seven nations to be added to the Visa Waiver program. Czech citizens will finally be able to travel to the US without a Visa by simply registering online ahead of their planned trip. The waiver should go into effect within a month (towards the end of November 2008).
The newly admitted members to the program (which previously was available to 27 nations) are:
Almost two weeks ago, the Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg presented sixteen individuals and three organizations with the Gratias Agit award in appreciation of promoting the Czech Republic abroad. The award was given in a form of a crystal globe. One of the recipients was Paul Rausnitz, a Czech citizen living abroad but always proud of his country.
Paul Rausnitz was only 11 years old when he was put in prison in Ostrava, North-East of the Czech Republic. It was right after the occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938 by Germans. Then he was thrown to Poland, where he was waiting, along with his parents and two brothers, for visas to America. During that time the war broke out and instead of traveling to the United States, he continued to move the opposite direction – to the Eastern part of Poland.