What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program allows most citizens or nationals to ability to travel to the United States for tourism or business for periods of 90 days or less without having to obtain a visa. Keep in mind that this program only applies to participating countries. If you are someone who is a national of one of the participating counties, then you must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval before your travel time and meet the following requirements. However, if you would rather have a visa in your passport, then you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa.

Here are the requirements for using the Visa Waiver Program:

You must be a citizen or national of the following eligible countries in order for you to have the ability to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program:

    1. 1 Andorra
    2. 2 Australia
    3. 3 Austria
    4. 4 Belgium
    5. 5 Brunei
    6. 6 Chile
    7. 7 Czech Republic
    8. 8 Denmark
    9. 9 Estonia
    10. 10 Finland
    11. 11 France
    12. 12 Germany
    13. 13 Greece
    • 4 Hungary
    • 15 Iceland
    • 16 Ireland
    • 17 Italy
    • 18 Japan
    • 19 Latvia
    • 20 Liechtenstein
    • 21 Lithuania
    • 22 Luxembourg
    • 23 Malta
    • 24 Monaco
    • 25 Netherlands
    • 26 New Zealand
    • 7 Norway
    • 28 Portugal
    • 29 San Marino
    • 30 Singapore
    • 31 Slovakia
    • 32 Slovenia
    • 33 South Korea
    • 34 Spain
    • 35 Sweden
    • 36 Switzerland
    • 37 Taiwan
    • 38 United Kingdom

You must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

In order for one to have the ability to travel to the United States without a visa and on the Visa Waiver Program, you must have your ESTA authorized before boarding a U.S. carrier, whether it is air or sea. The ESTA is a system that is web-based on used by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that determines your eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program to the United States for business or tourism.

A non immigrant visa lawyer will be able to go into more detail regarding this.

Update Your Electronic System for Travel Authorization
Keep in mind that your ESTA is typically only valid for two years. If you have done any of the following, you must obtain a new ESTA:

  • Received a new passport
  • Changed your name
  • Changed your gender
  • Changed your country of citizenship
  • Need to change your responses to the “yes” or “no” questions on the ESTA application
  • With that being said, always make sure that your ESTA is up to date.

You Must Have the Correct Type of Passport
Another requirement is that you must have had a valid passport for at least six months prior to your travel time to the United States, unless it was exempted by country-specific agreements, which you will need to consult with your attorney about if this is so. If you are traveling with children, everyone must have a valid passport of their own, whether they are infants or children.

Additionally, an e-passport is required in order to use the Visa Waiver Program. This is because an e-passport has an advanced electronic chip for security purposes. The chip embedded in the e-passport will be scanned to match the traveler on the passport. All e-passports must comply with the standards set by the Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Emergency and Temporary Passports
If you have an emergency or temporary passport and want to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, then it must be an e-passport.

Contact an Immigration Visa Lawyer

If you have any questions regarding the Visa Waiver Program, it is best that you get in contact with our team of visa attorneys Los Angeles so we can get you the legal help you need. We understand that these types of situations can be very confusing, which is why it is best to stay on the safe side and consult with a lawyer who can get you help without taking any risks on your own and jeopardizing anything.

At Alami Law, we are a team of experienced, reputable, and knowledgeable immigration lawyers that understand the ins and outs of these types of situations. We understand that it can be tolling and confusing; however, we want you to know that we will help you every step of the way.

If you have any questions regarding the Visa Waiver Program, or any other questions pertaining to immigration, feel free to reach out to us any time to speak to an immigration lawyer Los Angeles today.