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Details about the Visa Waiver Program

Details about the Visa Waiver Program

You will qualify for travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if you are a citizen of the United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Denmark, Finland, Chile, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, or Switzerland:

  • traveling on a valid, full validity, machine readable or e-passport with an electronic chip. Click HERE for further information. The date on which your passport was issued is an important factor in determining whether your passport will be acceptable for visa-free travel. 

United Kingdom Passport holders please note:  A passport indicating that the bearer is a British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas) Citizen, or British Protected Person does not qualify for travel without a visa. A passport which states holder has Right of Abode or indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom does not qualify for visa free travel;

  • for business, pleasure or transit for less than 90 days. Visa-free travel does not include those who plan to study, work or remain in the United States for more than 90 days;
  • are not ineligible to receive a visa under U.S. visa law. Travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, those with criminal records, (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to U.S. visa law), certain serious communicable illnesses, those who have been refused admission into, or have been deported from, the United States, or have previously overstayed on the VWP are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.  Click here for further information

Plus, if entering the United States by air or sea you are:

  • holding a return or onward ticket. If traveling on an electronic ticket, a copy of the itinerary must be carried for presentation to U.S. immigration at the port of entry. Note: Travelers with onward tickets terminating in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be legal permanent residents of these areas;
  • entering the United States aboard an air or sea carrier that has agreed to participate in the program. This includes aircraft of a U.S. corporation that has entered into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to carry passengers under the Visa Waiver Program. Note: Other private or official aircraft or vessels do not meet this requirement; and
  • has received authorization to travel under ESTA;  

Or, if entering the United States by land from Canada or Mexico,

  • is in possession of a completed form I-94W, issued by the immigration authorities at the port of entry, and a $6.00 fee, payable only in U.S. dollars.

Transit under the Visa Waiver Program

If in transit through the United States to a destination in Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands, you may re-enter the United States on the return journey using any mode of transport, as long as the total visit, including both periods of time spent in transit and in Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands, does not exceed 90 days.

If you are in transit to a destination outside of Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands, the return journey must be on a participating carrier, but need not be within 90 days, as you will be required to make a new application for admission. If you intend transitting through the United States to take up residence in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands, you must be a legal permanent residents of the areas.

Please note that you will be requried to otain travel authorization under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization before boarding the carrier.  

The Visa Wizard

ESTA

  • Information about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA

    Travelers entering the United States by air or sea must register under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before boarding an air or sea carrier; those entering by land from Canada or Mexico are not required to register.  (See: What is ESTA?)

    Please note that the failure to determine your eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program before submitting a registration under ESTA may result in you being denied an opportunity to travel to the United States.  

     Follow this link to submit a registration (esta.cbp.dhs.gov)

    Important NoticeIf your passport has ever been reported lost or stolen to the authorities and then recovered, please do not attempt to use it for travel to the United States. If you input the passport details into ESTA, your application will be denied.

Refused A Visa?

  • Have you been refused a visa under Section 214(b) or 221(g)?

    Travelers who have been refused a visa under the provisions of Section 221(g) or 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act are not prohibited from traveling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program and submitting a registration under the Electronic System For Travel Authorization.  The decision to grant permission to travel will be made on a case by case basis.