Visa Waiver Program – What is the Visa Waiver Program?

Question: What is the Visa Waiver Program?

Answer: This program was spearheaded by  United States Department of State. It is an initiative that enables citizens or nationals of certain countries to enter the U.S. without a visa.  Hence, this program applies to individuals who will travel into the United States for 90 days or less. Also, this program is for  anyone from the following countries who are coming for the purposes of either tourism or business. Currently there are over 30 countries who participate in this program. Here is a list of just a few of these countries:

  • 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 all applicants must have a valid ESTA. The ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization must be approve PRIOR to the date the trip begins. All applicant obtain authorization from the Department of State via the website.

Additionally, there are a number of other important requirements that a traveler must meet to be in the Visa Waiver Program. One of the important requirements is the purpose of the trip be permitted on a Visitor (B) Visa. If your trip is for the purposes of business, examples below will constitute reasons for a Visitor (B) Visa:

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

If your trip is for the purpose of tourism, examples below will demonstrate the reason for a Visitor (B) Visa:

  • A vacation.
  • Medical treatment.
  • Visit with friends or relatives.
  • Enroll in a short, recreational course for the purpose 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 allow under the program.