Visa Waiver/DHS ESTA Program
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa if they have registered on-line through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
Citizens of the following countries must carry a qualifying machine readable passport or a biometric passport and register with ESTA to participate in the Visa Waiver Program (please visit the U.S. embassy website in your country of citizenship for country-specific passport requirements):
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The requirements to travel under the VWP are that the individual must:
- be a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country;
- complete an on-line ESTA registration and receive approval for visa waiver travel;
- have a valid passport issued by the participating country that is valid for six months . beyond your intended visit ;
- be traveling for business, pleasure or transit only; and
- be staying in the US for 90 days or less.
Plus, if entering the US by air or sea:
- be holding a return or onward ticket;
- be entering the US aboard an air or sea carrier that has agreed to participate in the program; and
- be in possession of a completed form I-94W, obtainable from airline and shipping companies.
Or, if entering the US by land from Canada or Mexico:
- be in possession of a completed form I-94W, issued by the immigration authorities at the port of entry; and
- pay a USD $6.00 fee, only in U.S. dollars.
By law, some travelers are not eligible to enter the U.S. These include people with criminal records, certain serious communicable illnesses, previous deportations from the U.S., previous overstays on the visa waiver program, and certain other problems. Such travelers may not travel under the VWP and must apply for special restricted visas. If they attempt to travel without a visa, they will be refused entry into the U.S.
Travelers who plan to study, work or remain more than 90 days cannot travel under the VWP and must apply for a visa. If a U.S. immigration officer believes that a traveler without visa is going to study, work or stay more than 90 days, the officer will refuse to admit the traveler.
For additional information on the Visa Waiver Program, please visit the Department of State’s travel website.