The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) gives permission to citizens of 37 different countries to travel to the United States for the purpose of tourism or business.

Under this program, visitors from foreign countries can only stay in the U.S. for a period of 90 days. After the 90-day period is up, those individuals must obtain a visa applicable to their needs such as a student visa or an L-1 business visa.

If you are not sure whether or not your country qualifies you for the VWP, please view The Bureau of Consular Affairs (U.S. Department of State) website. Some of those 37 countries include France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. For some time, there were only 36 participating countries, but as of October 2, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Taiwan would be added as the 37th participating country. Countries such as Canada and Mexico are not included.

Waiver Programs in New York & the U.S.

If you would like to gain access into the United States for a period of 90 days or less but your country is not included in the list of 37 participating VWP countries, then a New York immigration lawyer at our firm may be able to help you find an alternative so that you can travel or conduct business in the U.S. There are five major steps that travelers must complete before they can travel to the U.S. with a visa waiver. These qualifying steps are listed below:

1. Apply for and receive approval with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
2. Must have a valid passport that will not expire for at least another six months past the expected duration of stay in the U.S. Additional passport requirements apply for those who are traveling to the U.S. as diplomats or officials.
3. Proof of purpose of stay must be for tourism or business. These individuals may have to obtain a Visitor (B) Visa in order to travel. Those participating in foreign media will have to obtain a different type of nonimmigrant visa called the media (I) visa.
4. Must be arriving in the U.S. via an approved carrier- please see the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual for the list of approved VWP carriers.
5. Must be able to prove two final things: intent to stay only 90 days or less in the United States and funds necessary to support a stay in the U.S. of that duration.

Additional concerns may arise if you attempted to travel to the United States but your visa application was denied. Consider the following:

According to the U.S. Department of State,

A recent visa denial for any reason could result in denial of an authorization via ESTA, additional questioning at the port of entry, or denial of admission to the United States. Applicants who are uncertain of whether they qualify for VWP travel may choose to apply for a visa.

For more information on the possible difficulties with the VWP process and gaining access into the United States under a nonimmigrant, please contact Pozo Goldstein, LLP today.

New York Immigration Attorney for Visa Counsel

If you are unsure whether or not you meet the qualifications to travel to the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), please contact a New York immigration attorney from Pozo Goldstein, LLP today. Our firm will be able to evaluate the nature of your circumstances and determine whether or not you can travel for tourism or business under this particular program. There are many alternative methods that can allow a person to legally travel to the United States. Our firm is experienced in obtaining immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for clients. Whatever your questions or immigration concerns, be assured that our firm can help. We have a former judge as well as former U.S. immigration prosecutors on staff at our firm. You can be confident in this level of experience on your side. Contact a New York immigration attorney from our firm today.