Rule changes to the Visa Waiver Program in 2016

esta 2016

The ESTA Visa Waiver Program enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa provided they meet all the necessary requirements.


Recently the US government implemented changes under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 to their standing ESTA Visa.

Changes to the Visa Waiver Program in 2016

The ESTA Visa Waiver allows nationals of thirty-eight countries to travel for the purposes of tourism or business to the USA, for up to 90 days without a full nonimmigrant visa.

The new changes made to the ESTA program affect the citizens of these thirty-eight countries who hold dual citizenship, automatically denying the ESTA Visa Waiver for those who hold dual Iranian, Iraqi, Sudanese and Syrian citizenship.

As part of its restrictions, the US also implemented changes to prevent  those who have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria on or after March 1st 2011, from entering the country without a full visa. With limited exceptions for those who traveled to the above mentioned countries for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country.

Any travelers who hold dual nationality with one of the four countries listed above and also have a current ESTA will have it revoked.

Travelling to the United States with the ESTA 2016

The new ESTA 2016 legislation does not affect the great majority of VWP travelers.

Whether applicants receive an approved ESTA will still be determined on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the terms of the law.

Citizens who are no longer eligible for an ESTA Visa Waiver will still be able to travel to the USA.
They will need to apply for a full nonimmigrant visa at any United States of America embassy or consulate.

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