What is the Visa Waiver Program?

What is the Visa Waiver Program? This program was spearheaded by  United States Department of State, is an initiative that enables citizens or nationals of certain countries.  This program is used when you need will be traveling into the United States for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. This program is for  anyone from the following country below who are coming for the purposes of either tourism or business. Currently there are over 30 different designated countries that are participating in the program, including but not limited to ones like:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden and more

The Visa Waiver Program Requirements

The first major requirement of the Visa Waiver Program is that all applicants must have a valid ESTA, or Electronic System for Travel Authorization, approval PRIOR to the date their trip begins. Obtaining authorization under ESTA is something that can easily be accomplished via the Department of State’s website.

Additionally, there are a number of other important requirements that a traveler must meet in order to take advantage of the Visa Waiver Program. The biggest is that the purpose of their trip must be permitted on a Visitor (B) Visa. If your trip is for the purposes of business, examples that would be permitted by a Visitor (B) Visa include but are not limited to ones like:

  • You are in the United States specifically to consult with one or more business associates.
  • You are entering the country to attend a business convention or conference, or some other type of scientific, educational or otherwise professional event.
  • You are coming to the United States in order to negotiate a contract or other business deal.

If your trip is for the purposes of tourism, permitted examples include the following:

  • You are taking a vacation.
  • You are going to receive medical treatment.
  • You are going to visit with friends or relatives.
  • You are going to be enrolled in a short, recreational course for the purposes of study.

It is important to note that studying for credit, visiting the U.S. for the purposes of employment and similar travel reasons are not permitted under the program.