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U.S. Travel Information

Visa Waiver Program & ESTA - Find Infos for Temporary Visitors to the U.S.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business [visitor (B) visa purposes] for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established in 1986 with the objective of eliminating unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas.

VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all travelers from VWP countries are eligible to use the program.

VWP travelers are required to apply for authorization though the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), are screened at their port of entry into the United States, and are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.

An approved ESTA travel authorization is:

  • valid for up to two years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first;
  • valid for multiple entries into the U.S.; and
  • not a guarantee of admissibility to the United States at a port of entry. ESTA approval only authorizes a traveler to board a carrier for travel to the U.S. under the VWP. In all cases, CBP officers make admissibility determinations at our ports of entry.

ESTA fees

Beginning September 8, 2010, there is a ESTA fee required by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. The fee is comprised of two parts:
1. Processing Charge -- All applicants requesting an electronic travel authorization are charged for the processing of the application. The fee is $4.00. 2. Authorization charge -- If your application is approved and you receive authorization to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, an additional $10.00 will be charged to your credit card. If your electronic travel authorization is denied, you are only charged for the processing of your application.
CBP is not responsible for any third party fees for the transaction.
Official ESTA Website Link https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ (available in 16 Languages)

VWP travelers should be aware that unauthorized third-parties have established Web sites, which charge visitors seeking to travel to the United States under the VWP, for information about ESTA™ and for submitting ESTA™ applications to DHS on behalf of the traveler. These businesses and Web sites are not endorsed by, associated with, or affiliated in any way with DHS or the United States Government. Again, the United States Government does not charge a fee to obtain information about, apply for, or obtain a travel authorization through the ESTA™ Web site.

Use of a private service to apply for travel authorization via ESTA™ will not expedite the granting of approval.

Best and most up-to-date source for all information around the VWP

U.S. State Department - Section VWP

Visa Waiver Program - Participating Countries

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits visa free travel to the US, if you are a citizen of one of the following countries and the conditions mentioned beneath apply to you.

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom

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Document Information
Source: U.S. State Department
Last modified: 20110307
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