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Visa-free travel program
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The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for business or tourist purposes ("Visitor") for up to 90 days without a visa. Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all travelers from participating countries are eligible to use this program. Travelers under the Visa-Free Travel Program (VWP) must apply for authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), be screened at the port of entry, and under the Department of Homeland's OBIM program Security) registered.
Republic of Korea
Nationals of these countries can travel to the United States of America for up to 90 days for tourism or business reasons without a visa if you meet the following criteria:
- You have a passport with an integrated chip (electronic passport);
- You register online using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA); and
- You meet the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program listed below.
Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the UK Overseas Territories of Bermuda are encouraged to visit the US State Department's travel website.
* For any reference to “country” or “countries” on this page, please note that under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4 (b) (1), “When the laws of the United States of America refer to other countries, nations, states, governments or similar bodies, these terms also include Taiwan and such laws also apply to Taiwan. " 22 U.S.C. Section 3303 (b) (1). Accordingly, all references to "land" or "countries" in the US Visa-Free Travel Program, Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1187, to be interpreted as including Taiwan. This is in line with the United States' "one-China" policy, under which the United States has conducted its unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.
To enter the United States through the Visa Waiver Program, travelers must meet the following criteria:
- Be a citizen of one of the above countries and hold a passport that complies with the Visa Waiver Program;
- be in possession of the ESTA travel authorization;
- reside in the United States for a maximum of 90 days; and,
- travel for the following reasons:
- business reasons - the purpose of the planned trip is to meet business partners; attending a scientific, educational, professional or business conference, or a conference on specific dates; the settlement of an estate; or negotiating a contract.
- Leisure / Tourism - The purpose of the planned trip is pleasure or tourism, visiting friends or relatives, recreation, medical treatment, an activity of a scientific, social or official nature; as well as the participation of amateurs in musical, sporting or similar events or competitions without receiving any financial compensation.
- Transit - If you are traveling through the United States of America.
AND if you are traveling to the United States by air or sea, you must:
- have a ticket for your return or onward journey. If you are traveling on an electronic ticket, you will need to provide a copy of your itinerary to immigration authorities. Travelers with outbound tickets to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be a resident of these countries.
- enter the United States on board an air or ocean carrier participating in the program. This includes aircraft from a U.S. company that has an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to carry passengers under the Visa Waiver Program.
If you are entering the United States by land from Canada or Mexico, the same documentation requirements apply, except that round-trip tickets or authorized freight carriers are not required. You must be able to prove to the border protection authorities that you have sufficient financial means to support yourself during your stay in the United States of America and to finance your departure from the United States of America.
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
From the April 1, 2016 Persons who can participate in the Visa Waiver Program to the United States must have a valid one electronic passport. This rule also applies to those who already have a valid ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) authorization. Electronic passports have this symbol on the envelope:
In addition, nationals of VWP countries who traveled to or were present in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and / or Yemen after March 1, 2011 are no longer eligible to enter the USA as part of the VWP. People with dual citizenship of VWP countries and Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Sudan are also no longer entitled to enter the USA under the VWP.
This restriction does not apply to VWP travelers who were present in one of these countries in the service of the military of a VWP country or who are required to fulfill official duties as a full-time employee of the government of a VWP country.
The Secretary of Homeland Security may lift this VWP restriction if he determines that such a suspension is in the interests of law enforcement or the national security of the United States. Such exceptions are only granted on a case-by-case basis. In general, the following categories of travelers are eligible for an exemption:
- Persons who have officially traveled to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations or subnational administrative units;
- Individuals who have traveled to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and / or Yemen on behalf of a humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) and
- Individuals who have traveled to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and / or Yemen as a journalist for reporting purposes.
- Individuals who have traveled to Iran for lawful business purposes following the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of July 14, 2015, and
- Individuals who have traveled to Iraq for legitimate business purposes.
An updated ESTA application form is available. The new form contains additional questions regarding the new requirements for entry authorization required by law. We recommend travelers who want to apply for an ESTA to use the extended system, as a possible exception can be decided on a case-by-case basis. There is no separate application for exemption.
Current ESTA holders should check their ESTA status on the CBP website before traveling: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/.
Passport validity: All travelers to the United States of America must be in possession of a passport that is valid for six months after their intended stay in the United States of America, except in the case of exceptions by country-specific agreements. If you are traveling to the United States on the Visa Waiver Program, your passport must be valid for at least 90 days. If your passport is not valid for that long, you are entitled to stay in the United States until the expiry date of your passport.
If you are from a member country of the Visa Waiver Program but your passport does not meet these criteria, you are advised to obtain a VWP-compliant passport from the relevant authority that issues passports in your home country. Otherwise, you will not be able to travel to the United States using the Visa Waiver Program and will need to apply for a visa.
Some travelers may not be eligible for visa-free entry to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. This includes people who have been arrested even if that arrest did not ultimately result in a criminal conviction, people with a criminal record (even if they have received a pardon, amnesty or other penalty) who have certain serious communicable diseases, people who have A person who has been refused entry to the United States or who has been deported from the United States or who previously stayed in the United States beyond the period of their stay in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program . Such travelers must apply for a visa. If these people attempt to travel without a visa, they may be refused entry into the United States.
Under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, travelers who have traveled to or stayed in Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and / or Syria since March 2011 (with a few exceptions when traveling for diplomatic or military purposes on behalf of a VWP country), or travelers who are also dual citizens of Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, Iran and / or Syria are no longer eligible for the visa-free travel program (VWP) to participate. Details on the changes under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 can be found at http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/visa-waiver-program.
Travelers with minor traffic violations that have not resulted in an arrest warrant or conviction can travel without a visa if they meet all other requirements. If the violation occurred while you were in the United States and there is a pending fine or you failed to appear for a court hearing, you may have a warrant for arrest and you can apply for entry into the United States may have trouble. Therefore, you should eliminate such a problem before you travel by contacting the appropriate court. If you do not know the address of the court, you can find it on the Internet: www.refdesk.com.
Visa-free travel is not possible for people who want to study, work or stay in the United States of America for more than 90 days or for those who intend to change their status after entering the United States of America (from Tourist to Student etc.). Such travelers need a visa. If an immigration officer believes that a visa-free traveler intends to study, work or stay in the United States for more than 90 days, he or she will be refused entry.
Applicants from Canada and Mexico
Canada, Mexico and Bermuda are not participants in the Visa Waiver Program. The Immigration and Nationality Act contains additional provisions for visa-free travel for citizens of Canada or Bermuda, under special conditions. See Citizens of Canada and Bermuda. Because you are not part of the Visa Waiver Program, the requirements for machine readable or biometric passports do not apply to citizens of Canada, Mexico or Bermuda. It should also be noted that some citizens of Canada and Bermuda require a nonimmigrant visa to enter the United States.
Travelers who have been denied ESTA will not be able to travel to the United States on the Visa Waiver Program. Please apply for a visa before departure.
For further questions about the ESTA process, please contact the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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