Waiver Program – Is there any way to qualify for the visa waiver program?

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  Is there any way to qualify for the visa waiver program? Also, are there guidelines that need to be met before I can qualify for the program?


Answer:  The visa waiver program will allow citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States. Individuals coming will not need to obtain a visa for 3 months or less, if all conditions have been met. However, the applicants who meet the eligibility conditions for the Visa Waiver Program can come as a tourist or for business. In addition, all applicants must posses a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to their travel.

A Visa Waiver Program applicant may fall under one of these criteria:

For Business

  • an individual is here to meet with business associates
  • attend conferences or conventions associated with education, business, or professional
  • attend a short term training

For tourism

  • vacation
  • visiting friends or relatives
  • medical treatment
  • sporting events at the amateur level

So, individuals can apply for a visa if he/she fits any of the criteria above. In some other cases, applying for a regular visa may be more beneficial. Furthermore, a regular visa will have less restricts as to the waiver program. So, the best thing would be to evaluate your purpose of coming to the U.S. and determine which visa will benefit you more.