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Benefits of the Visa Waiver Program

Understanding how the Visa Waiver Program works and where to get help with the ESTA application can relieve much of the stress surrounding this crucial process.

Following the terror of 9/11, the U.S. Visa Waiver Program tightened up the requirements for citizens of participating countries. One of the first changes regarded what kind of passport applicants could use to participate. To simplify the process, electronic passports were proposed and are still being issued. Now, the application process to participate in the program is almost entirely electronic.

The introduction of the ESTA Form drove the implementation of this convenient, secure process. ESTA is the system that collects information for travel permits. The online form is what applicants fill in to enter their information into the system. Today, the Visa Waiver Program are synonymous for citizens of countries eligible for the waiver.

Countries Available for the Visa Waiver Program

Those traveling from the following 39 countries are eligible for the VWP. The program makes it possible for them to travel with their validated passport secure in the knowledge that the trip through customs will go smoothly.

AndorraHungaryNorway
AustraliaIcelandPoland
AustriaIrelandPortugal
BelgiumItalySan Marino
BruneiJapanSingapore
ChileLatviaSlovakia
Czech RepublicLiechtensteinSlovenia
DenmarkLithuaniaSouth Korea
EstoniaLuxembourgSpain
FinlandMaltaSweden
FranceMonacoSwitzerland
GermanyNetherlandsTaiwan*
GreeceNew ZealandUnited Kingdom**

 

Citizens of the eligible countries need an application launched in the USA ESTA via the U. S. Border Administration website or via reputable service providers.

Who is Eligible for a New ESTA

Eligible travelers meet the following criteria.

  • Citizens of an eligible country (see above) of the Visa Waiver Program
  • Those with no current visitor’s visit.
  • Planned travel is less than 90 days
  • Business and pleasure travelers to the U.S.

What Is Needed?

The following items and information are needed to successfully complete the ESTA form.

  • Passport from a Visa Waiver Program country
  • Valid credit card
  • Contact information
  • Most recent employment details

Applying Made Easy

Applicants can also work with a third party company to fill out the ESTA (with instructions) online. This may be the best option, especially with a large family, to ensure all the relevant information is entered quickly and accurately. The following FAQ’s can answer some of the most pressing questions regarding this process.