U.S. Visa Waiver Program: What You Need to Know

Here is a bit of information about the U.S. Visa Waiver Program that I have broken down into bite sized chunks to help anyone looking into it. I did not move to America on this visa, so I am not an expert, but the self navigation of my IR-1 taught me a thing or two.

For all up-to-date information you can also visit the website for U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs.

what you need to know about VWP

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a system where a visa is not required to travel to America, as long as the visit/stay is for less than 90 days. There are still certain requirements to be met before you may succeed under the VWP – including being a citizen from a country that is eligible/participates in the program. There are currently 38 countries that are eligible/participate, and a full list of them can be found here.

All VWP travellers to the U.S. must apply for, and be granted, an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). The ESTA permits travel to America, but does not guarantee entry, as it must be proved at the port of entry that the traveller is eligible under the VWP.

what vwp does not permit

  • A permanent move to the U.S. or work/study (with credit)
  • An adjustment of status for a permanent move to the U.S.
  • To become a Green Card holder (permanent resident) it must be through immediate relative (of which there are various categories), fiancĂ©/e, work and refugee status – all have forms and fees and evidence based checks before any such visa is issuedwhat vwp does permit
  • Attend business meetings, conferences, training and consultations and negotiating a potential job/existing contract
  • Vacation with family/friends and general tourism activities and includes social event attendance
  • Amateur (non paid) participation in events like contests and sports etc

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me, or check the link to the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs at the top of this post.

Keep an eye out for future posts where I give information about other visas to the U.S. – thanks for stopping by!


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