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Visa Waiver Program

For individuals from the 38 eligible countries, participating in the Visa Waiver Program may be an option instead of obtaining a B-1 or B-2 visa for business or pleasure/tourism travel to the United States.

Foreign nationals considering this option need to weigh the limitations of the Visa Waiver Program against the advantages of avoiding B-1/B-2 visa application time and fees. While in the United States on the Visa Waiver Program, foreign nationals may not change status or extend stay; the Visa Waiver Program allows foreign nationals to stay in the United States only up to 90 days.

Foreign nationals in the United States on the Visa Waiver Program may not work, and there are strict restrictions for studying in the United States.

 

Travel Permissions and Required Documentation

For application to the Visa Waiver Program and subsequent travel, foreign nationals require the following documentation:

  • Machine-readable passport, valid 6 months into the future
  • Biometric passport (separate from the machine-readable requirement)
  • Completed ESTA application and payment online ONLY at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/-- submit at least 72 hours before departure to United States
  • Proof of round-trip or onward travel
  • Letter of purpose or invitation, as appropriate
  • After arrival: valid I-94 record

Just as there are no related dependent categories for B-1 or B-2, there is no related dependent category of the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA applications can be submitted and paid for individually or as a group, and are valid for 2 years or until the associated passport expires, whichever comes first.

 

Additional Information & Resources