Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. You may be eligible to travel without a visa if you are citizen of one of the following countries and conditions listed beneath apply to you. The Visa Waiver Program applies for the United States of America including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Visa-free travel does not include those who plan to study, work or remain more than 90 days. Such travelers require visas.
Please do not apply for a visa, if your travel plans meet the Visa Waiver Program requirements. Simply fill-in a short form provided on board the air or sea carrier.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization:
How ESTA Works:
Travelers from VWP countries will log onto the ESTA web site at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ and complete an online application. The web-based system will prompt applicants to provide basic biographical and VWP eligibility information typically requested on a paper I-94 form. Travelers may apply for authorization at any time prior to travel to the U.S., but are encouraged to do so at least 72 hours before traveling. In most cases they will receive a determination of eligibility within seconds.
Effective September 8, 2010, all Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) registration applications or renewals on or after that date will require a $14.00 fee payment by credit or debit card. Existing ESTA registrations remain valid through their expiration date.
* For more information about ESTA or the VWP, as well as Frequently Asked Questions, please refer to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/esta/
Currently, 36 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below.
Andorra Hungary New Zealand
Australia Iceland Norway
Austria Ireland Portugal
Belgium Italy San Marino
Brunei Japan Singapore
Czech Republic Latvia Slovakia
Denmark Liechtenstein Slovenia
Estonia Lithuania South Korea
Finland Luxembourg Spain
France Malta Sweden
Germany Monaco Switzerland
Greece The Netherlands United Kingdom
All visa waiver travelers must have a machine-readable passport (MRP),(click here to see sample) to enter the United States without a visa. If you are a citizen of a visa waiver country and do not have an MRP, you must obtain a visa to present at the port of entry to enter the U.S. This includes all categories of passports - regular, diplomatic, and official, when the traveler is seeking to enter the U.S. for business or tourist purposes, for a maximum of 90 days. Families seeking to enter the U.S. under the VWP will need to obtain an individual machine-readable passport for each traveler, including infants.
Conditions for Travelers
Depending on when your passport was issued, other passport requirements apply:
Machine-readable passports issued before 10/26/05 – no further requirements.
Machine-readable passports issued between 10/26/05 and 10/25/06 – requires digital photograph printed on the data page or integrated chip with information from the data page.
Machine-readable passports issued on or after 10/26/06 – requires integrated chip with information from the data page (e-passport).
Temporary, emergency, official and diplomatic passports are exempted from biometric digital photo and chip requirements, but must be machine-readable.
Austrian, Italian, French and temporary German passports.