Visa Not Required

In hopes of creating a more convenient travel experience for visitors, the U.S. Department of State created the Visa Waiver Program, which gives citizens of certain countries the privilege of entering the U.S. without visas. As the process of obtaining a travel visa to the United States can be lengthy, this is great news for certain countries.

The U.S. Department of State decides whether or not a country qualifies for the VWP based on risk assessment and economic factors, and the list of nations is changing rapidly. Certain countries which were once eligible are now no longer in the program; in addition, more countries will be joining in the coming years.

There are 35 nations that are participating in the Visa Waiver Program at this time: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Brunei, Belgium, the Czech Republic Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and the Slovak Republic.

There are some restrictions for citizens who wish to travel using the Visa Waiver Program. First, they have to fill out an online application and be approved by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

They also have to possess a valid passport, and it must include a barcode or chip that can be read by a machine. The passport must be valid for a minimum of 90 days after they return to their home country. Finally, travelers must arrive on an approved carrier, by air or sea, and be able to show sufficient funds to cover their living expenses throughout their stay.

At the time of entrance, the person must complete a form called a Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver, or I-94W. An agent from U.S. Customs will review the form and interview the traveler accordingly.

Questions such as, “what is the purpose of you stay in the United States” are common, as visitors are limited tourism or business purposes. Under the Visa Waiver, the individual must exit the country no later than 90 days after entry.

The profit for the United States and participating nations has been more than merely financial. Because of the Visa Waiver Program, the world’s countries seem to be growing closer in both distance and relationship.

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