Introduction to the USA Visa Waiver Program

The US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of certain countries to enter into the United States without a Visa for a short business or tourist trip of 90 days or less. There are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled in order to qualify for the VWP. Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all citizens of participating countries qualify for the VWP.

List of Countries Participating in the VWP

The following 27 countries participate in the US VWP.
(If your home country is listed below you may be eligible for a VWP.)

Andorra,

Iceland

Norway

Australia

Ireland

Portugal

Austria

Italy

San Marino

Belgium

Japan

Singapore

Brunei

Liechtenstein

Slovenia

Denmark

Luxembourg

Spain

Finland

Monaco

Sweden

France

the Netherlands

Switzerland

Germany

New Zealand

United Kingdom

US Visa Waiver Program Requirements

  • Applicant must hold a machine readable passports as of June 26th, 2005.
  • Passport must be valid at least 6 months from the expected day of departure from the United States.
  • Applicant has complied with the conditions of previous admissions under the Visa Waiver Program and has not been found ineligible for a U.S. visa.
  • Applicant arrives by an approved carrier (by sea or air).
    Most major airlines and cruise ships are approved carriers.
  • The applicant has a return ticket to any foreign location besides any part of United States or any U.S. adjacent islands.
  • If arriving by land, the applicant must demonstrate the intent to stay 90 days or less in the United States and have sufficient funds to support themselves during his/her stay here.
  • Travelers who have been admitted under the Visa Waiver Program and who make a short trip to Canada, Mexico or an adjacent islands, generally can be readmitted to the U.S. under the VWP for the original admission period.
  • *New passports issued by Visa Waiver Program countries must include a digital photo, otherwise the traveler will be required to get a visa.
    (A digital photo is one that is printed on the page, not a photo that is glued or laminated into the passport.)

*If a passport does not have this aforementioned (point # 8) feature, you can still travel without a visa if:

  • Were issued a valid passport before October 26, 2005, which is machine-readable, or
  • You have "e-Passport," which includes an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic information from the data page, a digitized photograph, and other biometric information. (All passports issued from Visa Waiver Program countries are required to be e-Passports as of October 26, 2006.)

Machine-Readable Passports

Machine-readable passports were required of Visa Waiver Program countries as of June 26, 2005. A machine-readable passport has two lines of text as letters, numbers and chevrons (<<<) at the bottom of the personal information page with your picture.

If a passport was issued on or after October 26, 2005, and it does not meet these requirements, the traveler will need to obtain a visa.

For more detailed information on Visa Waiver Program visit the Untied States Bureau of Consular Affairs: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html

Carrier's Liability

Beginning October 26, 2005, transportation carriers will be fined up to $3,300, per violation, for transporting any visitor traveling under the Visa Waiver Program to the United States who does not meet the stated requirements. Similarly, visitors traveling under the US Visa Waiver Program arriving in the United States on that date without the proper passport should not anticipate being granted entry into the country.

Form I-94W, Arrival/Departure Record

All travelers entering into the United States under the VWP program must complete and submit Form I-94W (green form) at Port of Entry (POE).

It is the applicants responsibility to make sure the transportation carriers collects the applicants departure portion of the Form I-94W on their departure.

Sample I-94W (Green Form)