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Visa Waiver Program/ ESTA

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa if they have registered on-line through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Not all passports are ESTA compliant.  Please visit our gallery of passports on the right to see if your passport is eligible.

The requirements to travel under the VWP are that the individual must be:

  • a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country;
  • complete an on-line ESTA registration and receive approval for visa waiver travel;
  • have a valid passport issued by the participating country that is valid for six months beyond your intended visit
  • traveling for business, pleasure or transit only;
  • staying in the U.S. for 90 days or less.

     Plus, if entering the US by air or sea:

    • holding a return or onward ticket: travelers with onward tickets terminating in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be legal permanent residents of these areas;
    • entering the US aboard an air or sea carrier that has agreed to participate in the program; and in possession of a completed form I-94W, obtainable from the sea carrier, if entering via a seaport.

    or, if entering the US by land from Canada or Mexico

    • in possession of a completed form I-94W, issued by the immigration authorities at the port of entry, and a USD $6.00 fee, payable only in U.S. dollars.  At this time, there is no ESTA requirement to enter the United States via a land border port of entry if all other conditions pertaining to the Visa Waiver Program are met (please see above).

    By law, some travelers are not eligible to enter the US. These include people with criminal records, certain serious communicable illnesses, previous deportations from the US, previous overstays on the visa waiver program and certain other problems. Such travelers may not travel under the VWP and must apply for special restricted visas. If they attempt to travel without a visa, they will be refused entry into the US.

    In addition, many travelers who have been previously refused a visa (particularly those refused under section 214(b) of the INA) may be ineligible for the VWP.  If you attempt to travel without a visa after being refused, you may be denied entry to the US or you may be subjected to additional screening upon arrival.  In order to avoid potential difficulties, we recommend that you apply for a visa. 

    Travelers who plan to study, work or remain more than 90 days cannot travel under the VWP and must apply for a visa. If a US immigration officer believes that a traveler without visa is going to study, work or stay more than 90 days, the officer will refuse to admit the traveler.

French Emergency Passports

VWP emergency and temporary Passports must be e-passports

All emergency or temporary passports presented for application to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), including transit through the United States, must be electronic passports (e-Passports).  An  e-Passport contains an integrated chip that stores biographic data, a digitized photograph, and other information about the bearer, and is distinguished by a gold-colored symbol on the passport’s front cover.  The French temporary passport  is not an e-Passport.

VWP applicants arriving in the United States with a non-compliant passport may be required to undergo further processing and/or denied admission.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may exercise discretion at the ports of entry in cases of medical or other emergency travel.

More about ESTA

Passports Validity

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