The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows foreign nationals from certain qualifying countries to travel to the United States for business or pleasure and for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. It was established 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 and in 2009, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for the necessary authorization before taking the trip to the US was implemented.
It must be understood that while the Visa Waiver program can save a visitor from the hassle of applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, there are strict limitations on permissible activities while in the U.S. under the program and harsh consequences for even a minor violation of the terms of stay. Extensions of time beyond 90 days are generally prohibited and each year countless individuals find themselves barred from the United States for years due to comparatively minor violations of the Visa Waiver program.
VWP eligible travelers may still apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so and travelers who have previously been denied visas, who have violated the Visa Waiver regulation, who have criminal records or who may be ineligible to enter the U.S. on the VWP, should contact us before attempting to use the VWP to enter the U.S.