Visa Waiver Countries
There are currently 38 Visa Waiver countries that as of January 12, 2009 require
an approved ESTA Travel Authorization to visit the United States via air or sea.
Individuals holding a passport from any of these countries may visit the United
States under the Visa Waiver Program under certain conditions. Travelers with a
passport from any other country must obtain a B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa in
advance. Note that a travel authorization (ESTA)
must be applied for online in advance, while Form I-94W is normally completed
while flying or at the U.S. port of entry.
What is the Visa Waiver Program?
The visa waiver program is a U.S. government program that enables citizens and
nationals from 38 countries to enter the United States for business or visitor
purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. The advantage of entering
the United States under the visa waiver program is that you can travel to the
United States on short notice without obtaining a visa. Visa Waiver Travelers
are required to have an approved travel authorization (ESTA) to enter the United
States by air or sea.
Important Facts About the Visa Waiver Program:
- Travelers entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program are authorized to
remain in country for up to 90 days. Extensions are not allowed.
- A machine readable passport is required for all Visa Waiver travelers.
- An approved ESTA (U.S.
Travel Authorization) is mandatory for all Visa Waiver travelers entering the
U.S. by air or sea after January 12, 2009.
- The U.S. Department of State may add or remove countries from the Visa
Waiver Program. Argentina and Uruguay were recently removed, and the following
countries were added: Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,
Malta, Slovakia and South Korea.
- The Visa Waiver Program is normally abbreviated as VWP (Visa
- The Visa Waiver Program was established in 1986 with the objective of
stimulating the tourism industry in the United State.