For stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa, the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of some countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor visa purposes). Via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), VWP travelers are required to apply for authorization, are checked at their port of entry to the United States, and are registered in the Office of Biometric Identity Management of the Department of Homeland Security. Let’s have a look at countries eligible for USA ESTA Visa. Not all countries are participating in the VWP, and not all VWP country travelers can use the service.
Visa waiver program member countries
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- Republic of Korea
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
Nationals of Member ESTA Countries can travel without a visa of 90 days or less for tourist and business travel, provided that they comply with the following requirements:
- Own a passport with a built-in chip (E-Passport)
- Register online via the Travel Authorization Electronic System (ESTA)
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Travelers must come under one of the following things to enter the USA on the Visa Waiver Program:
- A citizen of one of the countries mentioned above and a VWP-compliant passport in his possession.
- Possess the authorization of ESTA
- Staying for 90 days or less in the U.S.
- Plan to travel for:
- Business: Your scheduled trip is aimed at meeting business associates, traveling on specific dates, settling an estate, or negotiating a contract, educational, technical, or business convention or conference contract.
- Tourism: Your expected trip is intended to be of a leisure type, including tourism, holidays, entertainment, visits with friends or family, rest, medical care, activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, and participation in music, sports, and similar events or activities by amateurs who receive no remuneration.
- Transit: If you're transiting through the USA to a third country.
And if the traveler is entering the USA through air or sea then he/she must be:
- Having an onward or return ticket. When traveling on an electronic ticket, a copy of the itinerary must be provided to the immigration inspector for presentation. Legal residents of these areas must be travelers with onward tickets terminating in Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands.
- Entry on an air or sea carrier to the United States that has agreed to participate in the program. This involves aircraft from a U.S. company that has entered into an arrangement under the Visa Waiver Program with the Department of Homeland Security to carry passengers.
The documentary criteria are the same when entering the U.S. by land from Canada or Mexico, except that there is no provision for round trip tickets and signatory carriers. You must convince the inspecting official that throughout your stay, you have funds to finance yourself and to leave the U.S.
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ELECTRONIC SYSTEM OF TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION (ESTA)
Both nationals or citizens of VWP countries who wish to travel to the U.S. for temporary business or pleasure require an authorized Electronic System for Travel Authorization before boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP (ESTA).
Those who are eligible to fly to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program must have a valid electronic passport as of April 1, 2016. This rule applies also to those with a legitimate electronic travel authorization system (ESTA). Travelers who are traveling to the United States should have passports holding the validity of six months after their scheduled stay in the United States. People of the countries of the Six Month Month Club Update are exempt from the Six Month Rule and are required to only have a passport holding the validity for their scheduled time of stay. Your passport must be valid for at least 90 days if you fly visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program.
Furthermore, citizens of VWP countries who, on or after 1 March 2011, have traveled to or been present in Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Syria, or Yemen are no longer eligible for travel or admitted to the United States under the VWP. Furthermore, dual nationals from the VWP countries and from Syria, Sudan, North Korea, Iran, and Iraq are no longer able to travel or be admitted to the United States under the VWP.
This restriction does not extend to VWP travelers whose presence in any of those countries was intended to perform military service in the VWP country's armed forces or to perform official duties as a full-time employee of the VWP country's government.
Some travelers may not be qualified under the VWP for entry into the U.S. visa-free. This includes individuals who have been convicted, even though the arrest did not result in a criminal prosecution, individuals with criminal records, some serious communicable diseases, individuals who have been denied entry to, or have been removed from, the United States, or who have already been overstayed by the visa waiver program. Travelers of this kind must apply for a visa.
Under the 2015 Reform and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of the Visa Waiver Program, those who have traveled to or been present in Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Yemen or Syria on or after 1 March 2011 (with exceptions for travel in the service of a VWP country for military purposes or diplomatic) OR people who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, and VWP countries are no longer eligible as they come under ESTA banned countries.
Visa-free travel does not involve those who intend to study, work or stay in the U.S. for more than 90 days or envisions that they would choose to change their status (from tourism to student, etc.) while in the U.S. Visas are required by such travelers. The officer can refuse to admit the traveler if an immigration officer thinks a visa-free traveler is going to study, work, or stay longer than 90 days.
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The above-mentioned article provides every detail about the Countries eligible for USA ESTA Visa which also includes information about ESTA Banned countries and ESTA Visa and Visa-Free countries list.