The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows nationals of 37 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (B-1/B-2 visitor visits) for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
The 37 participating countries have been approved by the U.S. government after meeting various security requirements, agreeing to share security-related data with the United States, and agreeing to maintain high law enforcement, counterterrorism, border control and document security standards.
The 37 countries include: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
To be eligible for VWP travel, travelers must also meet specific criteria. They must have machine-readable or electronic passports valid for six months past their expected stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exceptions), they must seek to enter the U.S. for business or tourism purposes for a period not to exceed 90 days, they must travel on an approved air or sea carrier and have a return trip ticket to a foreign destination, and they must not have been previously refused admission to the U.S. or violated the terms of any previous U.S. entries. In addition, individuals traveling to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program must pre-register the visit through the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program.
In addition to the 36 countries listed above, temporary visitors from Canada and Bermuda may, in some cases, also travel to the U.S. without a visa. Citizens of Mexico may apply for special border crossing cards for short-term business travel. Since these three countries are not part of the VWP, the requirements for possession of machine-readable or electronic passports do not apply. It should also be noted that some nationals of Canada and Bermuda traveling to the U.S. require nonimmigrant visas.
Foreign nationals who enter the U.S. on the VWP may not apply to extend or change their status once they have been admitted to the U.S.