Visa Waiver Program

Allows citizens of certain selected countries, traveling temporarily to the United States under the non immigrant admission classes of visitors for pleasure and visitors for business, to enter the United States without obtaining nonimmigrant visas. Admission is for no more than 90 days. The program was instituted by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (entries began 7/1/88). Under the Guam Visa Waiver Program, certain visitors from designated countries may visit Guam only for up to 15 days without first having to obtain non immigrant visitor visas.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 35 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Nationals of VWP countries must meet eligibility requirements to travel without a visa on the VWP. VWP travelers are required to have a valid authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel. 

What are the Visa Waiver Program requirements?

You must meet ALL of the following requirements to travel to the United States on the Visa Waiver Program:

  • Each traveler must be a citizen or national of a Visa Waiver Program participant country
  • Each traveler must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel authorization (ESTA)
  • Travel must be on an approved carrier
  • Previous compliance and no prior visa ineligibilities
  • Have the correct type of passport

Which countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program?

There are currently 35 countries participating in the VWP:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chili, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

Exceptions: Canada, Bermuda and Mexico do not participate in the VWP. The Immigration and Nationality Act allows visa-free travel under certain circumstances.

What are Visa Waiver Program entry restrictions?

These are some examples of activities not permitted on the VWP and require visas for travel to the United States:
- study, for credit
- employment
- work as foreign press, radio, film, journalists, or other information media
- permanent residence in the United States