Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows Travelers from specific countries to visit the US without a visa. The purpose of the visit could be leisure or business. You only need to have ESTA, i.e., Electronic System for Travel Authorization approval. Let’s further see the details of the Visa Waiver Program.
Travel Purposes Permitted under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)-
- Travel for Business or Leisure is permitted through VWP.
- Travel for Study or employment or work or residing is not permitted under this category.
Requirements under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)-
- The traveler should be only from the list of eligible countries,
- ESTA approval before coming to the US- it is operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to check the eligibility of the traveler.
- ESTA approval should be updated as it expires in 2 years.
- ESTA should be new in case you have applied for any changes such as name change or address.
- Have passport and other travel documents. Make sure passport still has 6 or more months to get expired.
- You must possess E-passport with the electronic chip when traveling to the US under VWP. The e-passport is as per the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to match the identity with the passport.
Visa Waiver Program and Terrorist Prevention Act 2015-
According to the Visa Waiver Program and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2015, following travelers are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and need to have a visa before coming –
- Citizens of the countries that are eligible under VWP but have visited these seven countries like Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Syria after one march, 2011 are not eligible for VWP. Exceptions are for those who visit for military or political reasons.
- Citizens of the countries that are eligible under VWP hold dual citizenship, and citizenship is of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan are not eligible for VWP.
Above mentioned travelers can apply for the standard visa to visit the US through an Embassy. US embassy also processes an urgent visa for emergencies. If the ESTA got denied of the Exempted travelers from the Act from a visit to countries mentioned above for political or military purposes, they could report that to CBP center, or they can apply for the standard non-immigrant visa through the US embassy.