United States’ Visa Waiver Program

United States’ Visa Waiver ProgramThe U.S. allows citizens of some foreign countries to travel to the U.S. without visas under a program called the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Around 38 countries have joined this program. Chile was the 38th country to join this program and it was added to the list of VWP countries earlier this year. Taiwan joined the program in 2013. U.S. is likely to expand this list and add more countries to the program.

Under this program, citizens of VWP eligible countries can visit the U.S. for a 90 day period. They will not be required to stand in lines and get their non-immigrant visas to travel to the U.S. under this program.

However, the U.S. does not add all the countries and it has strict requirements for countries that are looking to join this program. Countries looking to participate in VWP must have effective border controls and political and economic stability. Likewise, those countries must issue their citizens machine-readable passports and must be willing to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement agencies.

This program makes tourism and business trips easier. It also reduces processing times for the overseas U.S. consulates and embassies. Since the waiver agreements are reciprocal, this program also enables Americans to travel abroad more freely. The U.S. will looking to expand this program and Colombia and Malaysia may soon join the list of countries that partake in the VWP.

However, this program will benefit only those who seek to make short trips to the U.S. for business or for tourism. Those who need to travel to the U.S. for more than 90 days cannot travel under this waiver program and they will need to get visas to travel to America. Those traveling to the U.S. for pleasure can get B-2 non-immigrant visas and business visitors can get B-1 non-immigrant visas.