Approximately 79.62 million international travelers entered the US in 2018, says data published by Statista. An incredibly diverse nation, America has something to offer for every type of tourist, from an endless number of museums to national parks, entertainment centers and bustling metropolitans. No wonder this nation is such a popular holiday destination for people from all across the globe.
The fact that Americans love to welcome tourists to their country is well evidenced by their Visa Waiver Program, implemented by the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America.
What Countries Don’t Need Visit Visa to USA
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the US for purposes of business and tourism and reside for up to 90 days in the nation, without the need to apply for a visa. These countries include:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
These 38 countries also permit US nationals to visit them for up to 90 days without a visa, for the purposes of tourism and business.
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Why the Visa Waiver Program?
The main reason for the VWP is economic benefits. In 2014, about 20 million travelers set foot on American soil under the VWP and invested a massive $84 billion on goods and services.
Apart from this, securing the borders of the US is one of the key factors for introducing the Visa Waiver Program. All countries under the VWP share agreements with the United States regarding information on known terrorists, criminals and passports that have been lost or stolen, etc.
Electronic System for Travel Authorization
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) determines the eligibility of an individual to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. This application collects biographic information and the answers to the eligibility questions only. Authorization through the ESTA does not guarantee that an individual will be permitted entry into the US. This decision is taken by the US Customs and Border Protection officers.
How to Apply for the ESTA
The application procedure starts with filling up the ESTA Application Form. You are eligible to apply if you have a valid passport and possess an onward journey or return ticket.
Documents Required to Travel Under the VWP
The following documents need to be produced at the port of entry in the US for visa free entry:
- An electronic passport, containing a digital chip with the biometric and biographic information about the passport owner. It must also have a machine readable area on the biographic page.
- If you do not possess an electronic passport, a digital photograph must be printed on your passport. If not, you will have to obtain a visa before travelling to the US.
If you have any questions regarding your passport or eligibility, you can always contact the nearest US embassy in your home country.