Requirements for using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. This is only if they they meet all requirements explained below. Travelers must be eligible to use the VWP and have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel.
If you are eligible to travel on the VWP, but prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa. Transiting or traveling through the United States to Canada or Mexico is generally permitted for VWP travelers.
The following are examples of activities permitted while in the United States on the VWP
- Consult with business associates
- Attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
- Attend short-term training (you may not be paid by any source in the United States with the exception of expenses incidental to your stay)
- Negotiate a contract
- Vacation (holiday)
- Visit with friends or relatives
- Medical treatment
- Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- Participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)
These are some examples of activities not permitted on the VWP and require visas for travel to the United States:
- Study, but only for credit
- Work as foreign press, radio, film, journalists, or other information media
- Permanent residence in the United States
For more information on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) visit the U.S. State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website, or contact us directly for a consultation with an immigration professional.