Visa Waiver Program/ESTA
Under the Visa Waiver program (VWP) you can stay for up to 90 days in the US without a visa. The visit can be for business or for pleasure or both.
To use the VWP you must
- be citizen of a country allowed in the VWP
- have a valid Travel Authorization (ESTA)
- have a valid E-passport
- have a round-trip/return ticket
Countries currently in the VWP
- You must be a citizen of one of the following countries:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.
Being a (temporary) resident of one of these countries does not make you eligible for the VWP.Citizens of VWP countries who traveled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Somalia or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011, are not eligible anymore.
The same goes for citizens of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria.
- You need a valid approval from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). To get this approval you must submit an application. It is best to apply before booking a ticket and making any pre-paid reservations.
You must apply at least 72 hours before your departure.
If you travel with family members each of them must have ESTA approval (even babies).
An ESTA application can only be completed on-line.The Processing Fee for the application is $ 4 per person. The fee is non-refundable.
If the application is approved an additional $ 10 Authorization Charge must be paid per person.
The fee(s) and the charge(s) must be paid by credit card.
Someone else can submit the application and make the payment on your behalf.
You will be denied ESTA Approval if you:
- overstayed during a past US visit
- worked in the US without proper permission
- were denied a US visa in the past
- were arrested for or convicted of a serious crime
- violated laws regarding possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs
- You must have a valid E-passport or digital passport. This passport has an embedded electronic chip. When scanned it matches the identity of the traveler to the information in the passport. An E-passport has a symbol on the cover that resembles a camera.A child traveling with you must have its own E-passport, a “children’s passport” is not acceptable.
- After your ESTA is approved, you will receive an email with your ESTA Application Number and the approval expiration date. The Application Number is your Travel Authorization.
Print the email to bring with you, shortly before you leave.Your Travel Authorization can be revoked at any moment without reason or warning. Even when you are already on your way to the US. Always check before you leave whether your ESTA is still valid.
When using the VWP please realize the following !
- The allowed period includes time spent in the adjacent countries Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. (These countries also have their own rules for admitting visitors.)
If you want to visit Canada, Mexico and/or a Caribbean island as well as the US, you must either stay within the 90 day period or apply for a B-1/2 visa.
- US airports are US soil.
When you travel to a US airport to take a connecting flight to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean, your VWP period starts the moment you step on US tarmac !
Any period then spent in an adjacent country, counts as a stay in the US.
- 90 days is not three months.