Moore & Van Allen Law Firm, Attorneys


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The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the U.S. visa free for visits of less than 90 days for tourism and business purposes.

While citizens of the VWP participating countries may enter the U.S. without obtaining a visa, they are required to enroll in the Electronic System for Travel (ESTA). ESTA conducts a counterterrorism screening and the traveler must receive approval through the ESTA online system prior to their travel to the U.S.

Due to recent regulatory changes, some nationals of VWP participating countries may not qualify to travel to the U.S. on visa waiver. Pursuant to Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, the following travelers are not eligible to travel or be admitted to the US under the VWP:

  • Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
  • Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.

Nationals of VWP countries who are not eligible for visa-free travel may still apply for a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Individuals who travel via VWP are restricted specifically prohibits extensions of stay or a change of status to another nonimmigrant category. Employment by a U.S. company while in visa waiver status is expressly prohibited.