US Visa Waiver Program Information

The current US Visa Waiver Countries all require their citizens to obtain an ESTA before visiting the US. In order for a country to be included in the VWP, it has to meet many requirements related to passport issuance, security and previous visa application denials. Travellers with a passport from any other country must obtain a B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa. Note that an application must be made through the ESTA in advance, whereas Customs Form 6059B is usually completed while flying to the US or at the border before entering the immigration area.

What is the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

The VWP consists of countries which issue their citizens with a machine-readable or electronic passport to visit the US for up to 90 days without applying for a tourist or business visa in advance. Before January 2009, Visa Waiver travellers simply presented their machine-readable passport to the border agents for admission to the US. The ESTA, however, requires all Visa Waiver travellers to pre-register for, and be approved to, travel to the US. An ESTA authorisation is valid for two years.

Facts About the Visa Waiver Program

  • Travellers entering the US under the VWP are authorised to remain in the country for up to 90 days. Extensions are not allowed.
  • A machine-readable passport is required for all Visa Waiver travellers.
  • An approved ESTA authorisation has been required for all Visa Waiver travellers entering the US by air or sea since January 12, 2009.
  • The VWP was established in 1986 with the objective of stimulating the tourism industry in the United States, and has proved very successful in this regard.

Apply for ESTA VISA