What is the Visa Waiver Program?

Nationals from certain countries may enter the U.S. without a visa as tourists for 90 days or less. This is permitted under what is known as the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). As of October 26, 2005, all participating countries are required by U.S. law to ensure that their passports are machine readable with biometric information on an electronic chip, and/or digital photos. For countries not able to meet the new passport deadline, people traveling to the U.S. will need to apply for a visa. For more detailed information, click here.

VWP nationals may enter the U.S. under the same rules as the B-1/B-2 classifications, for up to 90 days. VWP entrants are not eligible for change of status, extension of status, or adjustment of status (unless it is on the basis of an immediate relative petition). In an emergency, it may be possible for VWP entrants to obtain an additional period of 30 days to depart the U.S., after prior approval from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).