The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits foreign nationals from designated countries permission to enter the U.S. without having to obtain a visa. To see a list of countries that are visa waiver qualified, please click on the following link:
Currently, there are 35 countries where nationals of those countries are permitted to travel the United States provided they are entering the U.S. with a valid passport (that does not expire for at least six months after their stay) and the foreign national is coming to the United States for pleasure or for business for no more than 90 days. The foreign national must have a roundtrip ticket and have sufficient funds to support himself or herself while in the U.S. The purpose of the VWP is to facilitate travel between the U.S. and waiver approved countries. The foreign national must not engage in work or school while in the U.S. under the visa waiver program. It is paramount that the foreign national comply within the guidelines of the VWP, otherwise, the foreign national may jeopardize or be prohibited from entering the U.S. in the future under this program.
It is important to be aware that foreign nationals who enter under the VWP are not eligible to change to a different status in the U.S. nor are they eligible to extend status. Visa waiver participants must depart within the 90 days of arrival.
Note: commencing July 1, 2009, all emergency or temporary passports used to travel under the VWP must be electronic passports (e-Passport).
How to Apply
The foreign national must first be from one of the eligible visa waiver countries. If the individual is from a visa waiver country, then he or she will need to have the following:
- Obtain prior authorization to travel under the visa waiver program from Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA);
- Possess a Machine Readable Passport (MRP);
- Arrive on an approved carrier and have a return ticket; and
- Intent to depart within 90 days of arrival in the U.S.
It is imperative that the visa waiver traveler depart within 90 days of his or her stay and comply with all the program rules. If you require assistance in determining if you qualify to travel to the U.S. under the visa waiver program please contact this office.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 will need to individually qualify under the VWP in order to travel to the United States.