Visa Waiver

Visa Waiver

Effective July 1, 2009, all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) emergency or temporary passports must be electronic passports (e-Passports) to be eligible for travel to the United States under the VWP. This includes VWP applicants who present emergency or temporary passports to transit the United States.

Visitors from the following countries may qualify under the visa waiver program: United Kingdom; Japan; France; Switzerland; Germany; Sweden; Italy; the Netherlands; Andorra; Austria; Belgium; Denmark; Finland; Iceland; Liechtenstein; Luxembourg; Monaco; New Zealand; Norway; San Marino; Spain; Brunei; Australia; Ireland; Portugal; Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Republic of Korea, the Slovak Republic and Singapore.

Although they are subject to all restrictions on their activities in the U.S. as a foreign national admitted under a B visa VWP, visitors do not actually have to apply for or receive a visa prior to coming to the U.S. (A visa is a stamp placed in a foreign national’s passport by a U.S. Consul at an Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S.)
Instead, the foreign national completes and signs a form prior to boarding the airplane to the U.S.

Effective January 12, 2009, any person entering the U.S. under VWP must also obtain (in advance of travel) an approved ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). This online application system is located at http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/esta/. It was developed by the U.S. government to prescreen travelers before they are allowed to board an airplane or ship bound for the U.S.

In addition, a visa waiver visitor must meet the following requirements:

  1. Hold a machine-readable passport;
  2. Possess a round-trip ticket prior to boarding issued by a carrier with which the U.S. has a special agreement
  3. Must be of qualifying nationality, and;
  4. May not be admitted to or stay in the U.S. for longer than ninety (90) days.

Please visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html for additional information regarding the Visa Waiver Program.