ESTA Visa Waiver

The Visa Waiver Program gives citizens of about 40 participating countries (Australia, Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Malta, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom) the opportunity to visit the United States without a visa for a period of up to 90 days or less as long as they meet all of their requirements. Citizens of eligible Visa Waiver Program countries must also have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization prior to their travels. Individuals who do not have a passport from one of the above countries, or are ineligible for an ESTA based on their previous immigration or criminal history, will need to obtain a B-1 Business Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa is they wish to be allowed entry to the United States.

Travel Purposes permitted on the Visa Waiver Program include:

  • Business
  • Tourism
  • Transit
  • Medical Treatment

If you are getting a visa waiver for businesses purposes those business activities must include:

  • Consultation with business associates
  • Attending a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
  • Attending short-term training (although you can’t be paid)
  • To negotiate a contract

If you’re getting an ESTA visa waiver for tourism purposes, those tourism activities must include:

  • Tourism
  • Vacation
  • Visit with friends and relatives
  • Medical treatment
  • Participation in social events hosted by social, fraternal and service organizations
  • Participating in musical, spots, similar events and contests as long as you’re not being paid for participation
  • Enrollment in recreational course study that is not for credit toward a degree

Activities you can’t do on an ESTA visa waiver includes:

  • Studying for credit
  • Employment 
  • Work as foreign press, radio, film, journalists or other information media
  • Become a U.S. permanent resident

Approximately forty countries participate in the Visa Waver program. You must be a citizen of one of these countries in order to participate in the program. If you’re arriving to the US through air or sea, you must be arriving by an approved air or sea carrier. You must also have a round trip ticket that indicates a return passage back to your origin country. The passport that you’re using for the trip must be valid for 6 months after your planned departure from the US. For families, each member of the family including children and infants must have their own passports and approved ESTA.