English Spanish
Menu
Search

Visa Waiver Program

Oct23
CONTRIBUTED BY :

Visa Waiver Program

Since the new administration has taken over, several changes have been made to the way immigration is handled in the U.S. One of those changes has been to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

What is the VWP?

The VWP is a program that allows some individuals from certain countries to enter the U.S. for business or tourism programs without a visa. Countries that participate in the program include Australia, Andorra, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Barbados, Brazil, Bulgaria, Brunei, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Chile, Denmark, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Estonia, Fiji, France, Finland, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jamaica, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Moldova, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Monaco, Malta, New Zealand, Netherlands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Portugal, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vanuatu, and the United Kingdom.

To participate in the VWP, you must obtain authorization through the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which is an automated system that gathers biographical information and reviews answers to determine eligibility. Some exceptions, however, exist even for some people who meet the qualifications. For example, travel to Iran, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, or Yemen after March 2011 will likely result in denial.

There is also a time limit for how long you can stay in the U.S. The time limit is typically 90 days or less and that time limitation is strict. Extensions are rarely, if ever, allowed.

Changes Being Made

Changes to the VWP have been designed to ensure that the people who partake in the program are fully compliant with the rules. Consequently, any changes made, or being made, are specifically geared to the enforcement of the program. They include:

  • Security measures: The countries that are included in the VWP must screen all travelers against counterterrorism info provided by the U.S. Countries with a 2% or higher rate of tourism and business nonimmigrant visitors who overstay their admission terms must initiate a campaign to reduce these overstay violations. This would be in the form of an educational campaign to focus on the admission criteria.
  • Call to Congress: The Department of Homeland Security has also requested Congress to codify the existing requirements. The agency argues that this would bolster efforts to collect and analyze travel data of foreign terrorists and allow U.S. Federal Air Marshals to operate on planes that travel to the U.S.

What do the Changes Mean to Those Participating in VWP?

Immigrants who are considering the use of, or are currently using, a waiver program such as VWP should be aware that the requirements and rules for these programs are changing. Consequently, it is important to seek the advice of an immigration attorney who is experienced in these matters and can guide you through the changes as they arise. This will ensure that you have a favorable outcome during your stay in the U.S.

The attorneys at Joseph Law Firm have decades of experiencing educating themselves on the ever-evolving immigration laws and helping their clients navigate through the system legally and safely. Contact them today to schedule a consultation to make sure that you are abiding by the terms of your visa as well as any other immigration concerns you might have.

Get in Touch

Complete the form to schedule a consultation.