The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. B-1 or B-2 visa. Those entering for business purposes as defined in INA 101(a)(15)(B) are admitted in WB status. Those entering for purposes of pleasure as defined in INA 101(a)(15)(B) are admitted in WT status.
Effective January 12, 2009, all VWP passengers traveling to the United States by air or sea must register online and obtain a travel authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before they begin travel to the United States under the VWP. DHS is developing an interim final rule that will expand ESTA pre-registration to Visa Waiver Program entrants planning to enter the United States through land ports of entry (POE). Once the rule is finalized and effective, these VWP travelers will provide their information to CBP electronically through ESTA prior to application for admission to the United States through a land POE. Stay tuned to the NAFSA website for further developments on that expansion.
The following countries currently participate in the VWP. If the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, adds or removes a country from the list, notice of that fact with an effective date of the change is published in the Federal Register. See 8 CFR 217.2(a) - Definition of designated country in the VWP.
- Croatia (effective December 1, 2021)
- Czech Republic
- South Korea (Republic of Korea)
- New Zealand
- Poland (effective November 11, 2019)
- San Marino
- Slovak Republic
- United Kingdom**
- ** The "United Kingdom" refers only to British citizens who have the unrestricted right of permanent abode in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man); it does not include British overseas citizens, British dependent territories' citizens, or citizens of British Commonwealth countries.
Restrictions on entry under the VWP
Individuals may not participate in the Visa Waiver Program, even if they otherwise meet program requirements, if any of the following conditions are present:
Individuals who are nationals of the following countries, regardless of whether they are also dual nationals of a participating visa waiver program country:
- Iraq or Syria
- A country that is, at the time of the alien's application for admission to the United States under the VWP, designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Currently there are four countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. See: Department of State list of countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism.
- Individuals (regardless of citizenship or nationality), who have been present at any time on or after March 1, 2011, in one of the following countries (unless they traveled to such a country in order to perform military service in the armed forces of a visa waiver program country or to carry out official duties as a full time employee of the government of a visa waiver program country):
- In Iraq or Syria
- In a country that is designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, currently Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria
- In any other country or area of concern specifically designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. On February 18, 2016, the DHS Secretary designated the following three additional countries subject to this travel restriction: Libya, Somalia, and Yemen
Individuals who are inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act, or represent a threat to U.S. welfare, health, safety, or security
Individuals who have ever violated the terms or conditions of a prior stay under the VWP, or
Individuals who have ever been removed (deported) from the United States