Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

What is the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program that enables nationals of foreign countries to travel to the US for the purpose of business or tourism without availing a visa. However, their period of stay should be 90 days or less. The US government has brought about this rule so as to reduce the hassles of travel visa procedures in certain cases.

Not all the countries are under the VWP and also not all nationals of the VWP countries are covered under the program. At present, there are some 27countries that fall under theVisa Waiver Program (VWP). Few examples are Japan, Italy, United Kingdom, Singapore, Spain, France and Germany.

How does a country qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

The Immigration and nationality Act, the border security Act and / visa entry Reform Act/ Enhanced Border Security and (EBSVERA) have laid down various conditions that countries have to comply with if they want to participate in the VWP. Some of these criteria are listed below:

  • The governments of those countries should also provide a visa-free travel for the U. S. citizens.
  • The governments should issue machine readable passports to its citizens. These passports should satisfy the internationally accepted standards.
  • The non- immigrant refusal rate should be very low in the country.

Visa Waiver Program Eligible Countries

Europe
Andorra
Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
  • inc. Greenland
  • and aroe Islands
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Hungary

Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Monaco
Netherlands

  • inc. Aruba
  • and Netherlands Antilles
Norway
Portugal
San Marino
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom (full British citizens only)

 

Asia
  • Brunei
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Singapore
Oceania
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

 

Who can use the VWP to enter the USA?

Only the nationals of the VWP countries can enter US visa-free. Even they have to meet certain conditions (listed below) if they want to enter America. It is to be noted that those who do not satisfy these conditions must apply for a visa to enter America. The conditions are:

  • They must travel for the purpose of tourism of business;
  • They must intend to stay for a period of 90 days or less;
  • They must have a machine-readable pass post that has a validity of at least six months after the last date of intended stay in the us;
  • They must not be ineligible to apply for an us visa;
  • The carrier (air or sea) by which they are planning to enter us should be an approved one; and
  • They must have a return ticket to any foreign destination.

Can an entire family travel by the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

An entire family intending to enter Us should possess the proper documents. It is important to note that if the family wants to enter visa-free by way of VWP, then each individual in the family requires individual machine-readable passport. This includes infants too

What else should a traveler know about the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

If you are in the US under the VWP but you envision your trip may be extended or that your status may change (for example, from tourist to student), you should immediately apply for a visa. Another point to note that anyone who avails of the VWP service has to pay a small fee for the same.