Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables qualifying nationals to travel to the United States for tourism or business stays for up to, but not exceeding, 90 days without a visa. If you qualify to travel via the Visa Waiver Program you must fill out the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The application must be filled out in English. Each traveler (including children) is required to obtain an independent ESTA authorization and determination of eligibility.
The program is open to countries that have very low rates of nonimmigrant visa refusals and immigration violations, issue secure travel documents, and work closely with U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism authorities.
You may qualify to travel under the Visa Waiver Program if:
- You are citizen of one of the following countries: Portugal, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, or the United Kingdom.
- You plan to stay in the United States for 90 days or less.
- You are traveling temporarily for tourism, business, or medical treatment.
- You have obtained an ESTA authorization prior to departing for the United States.
- If you make side trips to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and/or the Caribbean Islands, they must be within the 90-day period.
- Your passport complies with all Visa Waiver Program requirements.
- If arriving by air or sea, you are traveling on an Approved Carrier.
- You can NOT extend the duration of your stay.
- You can NOT accept paid or unpaid employment.
- You can NOT change your visa status.
You do NOT qualify to travel under the Visa Waiver Program if:
- You plan to study.
- You plan to stay in the United States longer than 90 days.
- You have a criminal record.
- You have a communicable disease like tuberculosis.
- You have previously been refused a visa, deported, or have been denied entry into the United States.
- ESTA charges $14.00 USD per application.
- There is a $6.00 land border fee for VWP travelers arriving at land ports of entry, per 8 CFR § 103.7(b)(1).
If you meet all the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program, you do NOT need to apply for a visa.
Since the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was implemented, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has had discretion to charge a fee to cover the administering of the program. The fee is effective since September 8, 2010. A fee of $4.00 covers the costs incurred by the DHS, Customs and Border Protection of providing and administering the ESTA system and is in addition to the mandatory $10.00 travel promotion fee established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. The total fee for a new or renewed ESTA is $14.00. Further information is available from the CBP website.