What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program is a U. S. Government controlled program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), allowing passport holders of 38 selected countries  to enter the United States multiple times for business or tourism purposes. The length of each stay should not surpass 90 consecutive days. The great benefit of this option is that applicants may travel freely to and around the US, on a short notice, without having to apply for an American visa.

ESTA Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

Travellers can apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and obtain a permit, allowing them to enter multiple times in the United States for a short period of up to 90 days per single stay.

The ESTA Visa Waiver authorization became obligatory on the 12th of January 2009.

An application can be made at any moment, prior to leaving for the US, due to the short processing time (up to 24 hours).

As of the 1st of April 2016, the passport requirements regarding the Visa Waiver Program have changed – applicants must have an e-passport in order to travel under the Visa Waiver.

Е-passports have enhanced security, which facilitates the safety of international travels.   

Following are the most recent changes made to the Visa Waiver Program:

  • VWP nationals who have been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria (or have travelled to any of these countries) on the 1st of March 2011 or after, render ineligible to apply for ESTA.
  • VWP nationals with double citizenship from either Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria are not eligible to apply for ESTA under the American Visa Waiver Program.