VWP requirements

Visa Waiver Program Requirements for travelers

Visa Waiver Program requirements

Here are the main Visa Waiver requirements, which you have to meet if you want to travel to the US under the VWP.

What is travel purpose?

The purpose of your visit is one of the main VWP requirements that determine whether you can stay in the United States under the VWP or apply for a visa. According to the Visa Waiver requirements, you can travel to the US only for tourism or business reasons. Transiting or traveling through the territory of the United States to its neighboring countries (Canada and Mexico) are usually also allowed for VWP travelers.

ESTA Visa Waiver requirements

If you intend to travel without a visa as a citizen of the VWP country, you must apply for authorization via Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Only if your application is approved, you are eligible to enter the territory of the United States. 

Visa Waiver Programrequirements concerning citizenship

There are 38 VWP countries, which citizens or nationals are eligible to visit the United States without the need to obtain a visa. However, according to the requirements of Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, the citizens of VWP countries who are also the nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Sudan are not permitted to travel to the US under the Program.

VWP Requirements concerning passports

In conformity with VWP requirements, your passport has to be valid at least for 6 months from the date of your intended departure from the US, except the specific agreements between your country and the US don’t state so.

In case you are traveling with family, all of your traveling relatives, including infants and children, need to have their own passports. 

One of the newest Visa Waiver Program Requirements, which was implemented on April 1, 2016, states that a VWP traveler needs to have a biometric passport (e-passport). Such passport is an improved identification document secured with an embedded electronic chip, which can be scanned.

The chip was designed to help match the identity of the tourist or business traveler to his or her passport. However, to meet VWP requirements, your biometric passport has to be issued in agreement with standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Status Visa Waiver requirements

In consonance with VWP requirements, the travelers who entered the US territory under the VWP are not allowed to apply for status change or extend their stays in the United States. For more information please visit the website of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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