Visa Waiver Program

Find out what the U.S. Visa Waiver Program is all about.

A lot of people wish to visit the United States for different reasons but most of them are not able to because of the many visa requirements that they must comply with. There is, however, a new program that allows citizens of specific countries to enter and travel to the United States without obtaining a visa.

The Visa Waiver Program is a program created by the United States Government that allows people from a set of countries to go to the U.S. for tourism or for business for up to 90 days with no visa requirement whatsoever. The program applies to all the 50 states of the U.S., as well as the territories of the U.S. in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Most of the countries included in the program are developed countries with high-income economies that have very high Human Development Index.

Visa Waiver Program Details

Countries allowed access to the U.S. through this program are called “program countries”. In order to be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, an individual must be a citizen of one of these program countries. Permanent residency in a program country will not suffice; the individual must be a legal citizen of the country.

The United States Government can withdraw the eligibility for the visa waiver at any time. This happens when the citizens of a certain program country become more likely to violate the VWP restrictions such as overstaying the 90-day limit or working without a permit.

The 36 countries that are eligible for visa-free entry to the United States are:

  1. Andorra
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Czech Republic
  5. Denmark (including Greenland and Faroe Islands)
  6. Estonia
  7. Finland
  8. France
  9. Germany
  10. Greece
  11. Hungary
  12. Iceland
  13. Ireland
  14. Italy
  15. Latvia
  16. Liechtenstein
  17. Lithuania
  18. Luxembourg
  19. Malta
  20. Monaco
  21. Netherlands (including Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten)
  22. Norway
  23. Portugal (including Azores and Madeira)
  24. San Marino
  25. Slovakia
  26. Slovenia
  27. Spain
  28. Sweden
  29. Switzerland
  30. United Kingdom (for full British citizens only)
  31. Brunei
  32. Japan
  33. South Korea
  34. Singapore
  35. Australia
  36. New Zealand

Undergoing a detailed evaluation by the United States Department of Homeland Security are countries that are nominated for status in the Visa Waiver Program. Taiwan is currently the only country in the nomination status.

Several countries that are interested in joining the Waiver Visa Program are known as “road map countries”. The U.S. Department of State has been conducting discussions with these countries:

  1. Bulgaria
  2. Croatia
  3. Cyprus
  4. Poland
  5. Romania
  6. Turkey
  7. Argentina
  8. Brazil
  9. Chile
  10. Uruguay
  11. Israel