March 7, 2022. 
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

U.S. Visa Waiver Program: What You Need to Know

If you’ve ever applied or tried applying for a U.S. visa or ESTA, you have probably heard of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This special program allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States without a visa. However, there are certain requirements that you must fulfill. We discuss them in this post, so keep reading to learn more.

What is a Visa Waiver Program?

The Department of Homeland Security administers the Visa Waiver Program. This program allows citizens of 40 countries to travel to the United States without a visa. Furthermore, the VWP rules apply only to those who are traveling for business or tourism and plan to stay for up to 90 days in the U.S. In return, these countries allow U.S. citizens to travel there for the same purposes and same length of stay.

As a citizen of the Visa Waiver Program country, you can apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). ESTA is a digital travel authorization that determines your eligibility and allows you to stay in the U.S. for up to 90 consecutive days. Note that ESTA is typically valid for two years and cannot be extended—you would need to submit a new application.

Which countries are a part of the VWP?

The following countries are included in the Visa Waiver Program: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and United Kingdom.

What are the requirements?

To qualify for the VWP, of course, you must be a citizen of one of the previously mentioned countries. You must possess a valid electronic passport (e-Passport) with specified security features. The passport must have a digital chip containing information about the owner. It also needs to have a digital photograph and a machine-readable zone. And lastly, you need to have a return ticket to prove that you’ll leave the U.S. within 90 days. For any additional questions, don't hesitate to reach out to our online consultants. We're here to help you decide on the best course of action for your trip to the U.S.


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