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, 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. Please check the validity of your passport by following this link. 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;
- is 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. Please follow this link for further information;
Plus, if entering the United States by air or sea is:
- 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;
- is in possession of a completed form I-94W, obtainable from airline and shipping companies (Note: this form is being phased out during July 2010, check with your carrier for further information); 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
Travelers who qualify for visa free travel under the Visa Waiver Program may transit the United States. Prior to boarding the carrier they must obtain travel authorization under ESTA.
If transiting the United States to a destination in Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands, the traveler 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 transiting 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 the traveler will be required to make a new application for admission and, therefore, required to complete a new arrival/departure form, I-94W. Travelers transiting the United States to take up residence in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be legal permanent residents of these areas.
The Visa Wizard
Not sure if you qualify to travel under the Visa Waiver Program? Use the Visa Waiver Wizard to help you decide.
Electronic System for Travel Authorization
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.
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.
Important Notice: If 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.
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.