The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or fewer 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, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, 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, Taiwan, 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
- traveling for business, pleasure or transit only;
- staying in the U.S. for 90 days or fewer.
- Plus, if entering the US by air or sea:
- holding a return or onward ticket: travelers with onward tickets terminating in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be legal permanent residents of these areas;
- entering the US aboard an air or sea carrier that has agreed to participate in the program; and 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
- in possession of a completed form I-94W, issued by the immigration authorities at the port of entry, and a USD $6.00 fee, payable only in U.S. dollars.
By law, some travelers are not eligible to enter the US. 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.. Applicants who are denied permission to travel on the VWP when they attempt to register on-line should follow the instructions in the non-immigrant visa section of this website to make an appointment for an interview.
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.
WVP emergency and temporary Passports must be e-passports
All emergency or temporary passports presented for application to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), including transit through the United States, must be electronic passports (e-Passports). An e-Passport contains an integrated chip that stores biographic data, a digitized photograph, and other information about the bearer, and is distinguished by a gold-colored symbol on the passport’s front cover.
VWP applicants arriving in the United States with a non-compliant passport may be required to undergo further processing and/or denied admission. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may exercise discretion at the ports of entry in cases of medical or other emergency travel.
How to Apply
ESTA applications may be completed online at the official DHS website, which is: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/. Please review the important DHS Advisory Warning about unauthorized third-party ESTA application related web sites. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States. DHS recommends that applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans.