What Is The US Visa Waiver Program?
The US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens or nationals belonging to 39 countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business. Through this permit, such citizens can stay for 90 days without a visa in America. In return these 39 countries also allow the U.S. nationals and citizens to travel without visas in their countries for an equal duration for either tourism or business purposes.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) administers the VWP with support from the State Department. However, there is one condition. The travelers must possess valid approval from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before the travel and also should fulfill all the requirements as mentioned below.
Requirement For The US Visa Waiver Program
You must be a national or a citizen of any of the designated 39 countries that are included in the visa waiver program to travel to America under this category. Some of the prominent countries included in this list include Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Greece, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. The conditions are a bit different for the citizens/nationals of Great Britain.
To travel under the US Visa Waiver Program, a citizen or national of Britain must have the right to own a permanent abode in Wales, Scotland, England, the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man without any restriction.
Must Possess Valid ESTA
Before boarding the sea or air carrier interested citizens who want to travel to the US under the VWP must possess the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervise this web-based system to ensure that the travelers who are traveling under the VWP to America for business or tourism are eligible or not.
The ESTA generally has a validity of two years.
How To Obtain New ESTA?
If the validity of your ESTA has expired you will have to obtain a new one. You will also be required to obtain a new ESTA in the case you have changed your name, received a new passport, changed gender, changed citizenship, or want to make changes in your responses to the questions asked in ESTA applications.
Passport With Particular Features
Only those travelers who have a passport with particular features are eligible to travel under the VWP. These features are as follows:
- Your passport must possess a machine-readable zone on its biographic page
- The electronic passport should have a digital chip that contains biometric information about the owner of the passport
- It is important that for becoming eligible under the Visa Waiver Program you must possess an e-passport which is represented by a symbol. It is a highly secured passport having an inbuilt electronic chip.
- These E-passports must fulfill the international standards for securing as well as storing information.
- The passport must have digital photographs on the data page in the absence of which you will not be able to travel under the Visa Waiver Program.