Travel without a visa or Visa Waiver Program

A specific Visa program or Visa Waiver Program is defined as a specific travel program, approved in 1986 by Congress, to allow frequent visitors and business travelers to the United States to access a visa application dedicated to them.

In this way it was possible to significantly reduce the work for the U.S. State Department, in charge of processing and issuing US tourist visas. Over the years, the program has broadened its horizons by including other countries within the agreement and evaluating some exclusions.

By accessing the official page dedicated to the Visa Waiver Program it will be possible to obtain all the information relating to the criteria for the visa-free application, the member countries and all the information necessary for applicants.

Visa Waiver Program - trips with only the electronic ESTA authorization

What are the requirements to re-enter the Visa Waiver Program?

Visa Waiver Program countries must necessarily meet certain requirements ( see ESTA requirements ). Specifically, currently they are part of:

  • countries that have implemented counter-terrorism measures to limit national criminal and terrorist risk;
  • countries with a high Human Development Index (ISU);
  • countries that are considered a sovereign state;
  • countries that are considered high-income economies;
  • countries that share security information with the United States;
  • countries with low passport fraud and keeping track of stolen or lost passports;
  • countries that apply strict passport security measures using electronic and biometric passports;
  • countries with a low number of visa refusal cases for non-immigrants (less than 3%);
  • countries with a low number of citizens who stay beyond the expiration of their visas (low level of transgression of immigration laws).

Which countries are included in the Visa-free Travel o Visa Waiver Program?

EUROPE

Andorra

Austria

Belgium

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Ireland

Iceland

Italy

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Munich

Norway

Holland

Portugal

UK

Czech Republic

San Marino

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Hungary

ASIA

Brunei

South Korea

Japan

Singapore

Taiwan

OCEANIA and SOUTH AMERICA

New Zeland

Australia

Chile

What should citizens belonging to country participating in the program do?

All citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program must necessarily apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (USA ESTA application).

In the request for the issue of the form, the traveler must enter the reason for making this request (tourism, work or medical reasons).

the applicant will need to enter the timing and length of stay in the United States.

When we talk about ESTA, we refer to the visa USA created in 2008 for the electronic processing of the permit (reserved for non-citizens of the United States) to access the country to citizens of the states participating in the Visa-free travel program.

By accessing the dedicated website and submitting the application via the online portal, the employees of the Department of Homeland Security, DHS will be able to carry out a thorough (preventive) control of travelers. This search is carried out on the basis of the so-called lists of nearby subjects terrorist and no-fly list environments.

The application will remain pending in the system until all the necessary checks carried out by the department delegated to this task have been completed.

In order for the application to be approved, the requesting traveler must present characteristics consistent with the requirements established for the ESTA visa application.


What are the characteristics of ESTA?

Before making a request for ESTA, you should know that:

  • Once you have applied for ESTA you will not have a visa but a visa waiver;
  • Travelers wishing to reach the United States by plane or by ship are required to apply for ESTA;
  • ESTA does not guarantee admission to the United States (even if the request was successful). Each traveler will undergo a further check before entering the country by the competent authorities;
  • ESTA's request can only be made by citizens with a passport from the countries participating in the agreement (who are eligible);
  • ESTA has a total validity of 90 days;
  • it is possible to request ESTA for tourism, work, transit, medical reasons or other established purposes;
  • once obtained the ESTA, this is valid for all the 50 states that make up the United States, in the external US territories such as Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and the US Virgin Islands;
  • ESTA allows travelers not to apply for an additional visa USA;
  • lon request to obtain ESTA, it must be sent no later than 72 hours before departure (in order to allow the department to carry out the necessary checks and issue the form);
  • before accessing any means of transport leading to the United States, the traveler must necessarily own ESTA;
  • once approved, ESTA is valid for 2 years or until the expiry of the passport of the requesting traveler (if this occurs before the two years).
Seattle With ESTA and the Visa Waiver Program

Now let's answer some questions that travelers often ask us about VWP ( Visa Waiver Program)

  • What happens if I have dual citizenship and / or have passports from multiple countries?

     

    Those traveling with the Visa Waiver Program must have authorization before boarding the plane of any other means of transport capable of taking them to their destination. The authorization is issued by associating it with the passport with which you intend to travel. Therefore, if you are forced to renew ESTA before leaving, the traveler must request a new authorization associated with the new document. This procedure must be carried out through the ESTA application by entering all the information contained in the new passport. Each request will require, just like the first, payment of the processing fee.

    Travelers with dual citizenship or in possession of a double passport who wish to apply for ESTA must use the passport suitable for this program, both for registration and for boarding the plane from the airport of departure and for disembarking in that of arrival in the United States. In the event that the country of departure and arrival are both suitable for VWP, the choice of passport is at the complete discretion of the traveler who can choose to present. However, this document must be used whenever authorization is used during the validity period. Having two different ESTA authorizations (associated with different passports) could create complications and delays in airport checks.

    US citizens who also have citizenship of a country recognized by the Visa Waiver Program are exempt from the ESTA authorization request. US naturalized citizens will need to travel with the US passport.

  • What happens if I have dual citizenship, but the passport not suitable for VWP has expired or I am not in possession of the passport of that specific country?

    Those traveling with the Visa Waiver Program must necessarily obtain authorization for entry before boarding the plane of any other means of transport capable of taking them to their destination. The authorization is issued by associating it with the passport with which you intend to travel. Therefore, if you are forced to renew it before leaving, the traveler must request a new authorization associated with the new document. This procedure must be carried out through the ESTA Visa Application by entering all the information contained in the new passport. Each request will require, just like the first, payment of the processing fee.

    Travelers with dual citizenship or in possession of a double passport who wish to apply for ESTA must use the passport suitable for this program, both for registration and for boarding the plane from the airport of departure and for disembarking in that of arrival in the United States. In the event that the country of departure and arrival are both suitable for VWP, the choice of passport is at the complete discretion of the traveler who can choose to present. However, this document must be used whenever authorization is used during the validity period. Having two different ESTA authorizations (associated with different passports) could create complications and delays in airport checks.

    US citizens who also have citizenship of a country recognized by the Visa Waiver Program are exempt from the ESTA authorization request. US naturalized citizens will need to travel with the US passport.

  • I must apply for an ESTA permit if I am a citizen of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program and also have a B1 / B2 visa and I travel to the United States for tourism or short-term business travel under the Visa Waiver Program ?

    No, in such cases only the visitor visa is required. In most cases they are represented by the B1 business visa and the B2 US tourist visa.

  • If I don't have a visitor visa, can I travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program for tourism or short-term business travel?

    Yes, it is possible.

  • If I do not have a visitor visa but have another type of visa, for example, a student visa (F1) I can go to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program for tourism or for short-term business travel. ?

    Yes, it is possible.

  • If I am in Canada or Mexico and I visit the United States traveling by car, do I need to present an ESTA authorization?

    If the traveler is a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country and crosses the U.S. borders by land from Mexico or Canada, he does not require a permit and is not required to apply for ESTA. See Transit USA

    However, at the entrance of the country, if you do not have ESTA, you need to fill in the form I-94W.

    This will allow the traveler to undergo the manual entry procedure at the land border.

  • If I don't have a visitor visa, can I travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program for tourism or short-term business travel?

    Yes, it is possible.

  • If I do not have a visitor visa but have another type of visa, for example, a student visa (F1) I can go to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program for tourism or for short-term business travel. ?

    Yes, it is possible.

  • If I am in Canada or Mexico and I visit the United States traveling by car, do I need to present an ESTA authorization?

    If the traveler is a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country and crosses the U.S. borders by land from Mexico or Canada, he does not require a permit and is not required to apply for ESTA Visa.

    However, at the entrance of the country, if you do not have an ESTA, you need to fill in the form I-94W. This will allow the traveler to undergo the manual entry procedure at the land border.

Apply for your visa with the
Visa Waiver Program oppure
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