Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows many nationals of certain countries to bypass a formal B-1/B-2 visa application at a U.S. consulate abroad and instead apply for travel authorization to the U.S. online from the comfort of their own home.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

Where a B-1/B-2 visa would normally be required to enter the U.S., if a country participates with the U.S VWP, a citizen or national of that participating country may be able to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The same restrictions on B-1/B-2 activities apply to anyone entering the United States through the VWP.

Must Waive Certain Rights

VWP entrants waive certain rights when using the program to enter the U.S.; namely, the inability to extend their stay, change their status to another non-immigrant status, and to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident but for limited circumstances.

Countries Currently Participating in the VWP

  • Andorra
  • Hungary
  • Norway
  • Australia
  • Iceland
  • Portugal
  • Austria
  • Ireland
  • San Marino
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Singapore
  • Brunei
  • Japan
  • Slovakia
  • Chile
  • Latvia
  • Slovenia
  • Czech Republic
  • Liechtenstein
  • South Korea
  • Denmark
  • Lithuania
  • Spain
  • Estonia
  • Luxembourg
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Malta
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Monaco
  • Taiwan
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • Greece
  • New Zealand

Everyone Will Not Qualify to Travel Under the VWP

Certain citizens or nationals of a VWP participating country may not be eligible for approval through ESTA for any number of reasons. For example, someone who has previously overstayed their period of authorized stay in the U.S. may encounter a denial. Similarly, someone who has been convicted of a crime may also be denied travel authorization through ESTA. If an applicant seeking travel authorization applies through ESTA and is denied, they may apply for a visa at their local U.S. consulate. Just because someone was denied travel authorization on ESTA, does not mean the person must be denied a B-1/B-2 visa by a consular officer at a U.S consulate. However, anyone contemplating an application for a B-1/B-2 at a U.S. consulate should consult with us to discuss their particular set of facts, so they can be properly informed of their options.

Speak with an Immigration Attorney

Sunil C. Patel Immigration Law is experienced with helping clients obtainB-1/B-2 nonimmigrant status. We are committed to honest, cost-effective immigration advice and services in every case. Contact us for more information about how we can assist you.