What is a Visa Waiver?

A Visa Waiver is document that prevent the need to obtain a formal visa to visit the USA. Travelers who wish to travel to the U.S. on the VWP program must first register with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTA is a questionnaire that checks applicants for inadmissibility issues. ESTA registration costs $14 and must be renewed every two years or on the expiration date of the passport used to register, whichever comes first. Successful ESTA registration does not guarantee admission and should be done at least 72 hours prior to the planned departure date. More information regarding ESTA can be found on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

Is the Visa Waiver for me?

The Visa Waiver Program have some limits. For example, you may only stay for up to 90 days at a time – and there should be a reasonable amount of time between visits so that the CBP Officer does not think you are trying to live here. There are other disadvantages to using the VWP program. Aliens cannot extend their stay in the U.S. if they entered on the VWP, nor can they change to another status in the U.S. Accordingly, they must depart the U.S. and re-enter in another work-related nonimmigrant status before working. Moreover, if there are any questions on entry, they MUST return to their originating country on the next flight out, with no ability to resolve those issues at the USCIS district office with jurisdiction or an immigration judge.

Maximum duration of stay

90 days

With a Visa Waiver

6 months

With a B-1 or B-2 Visa

I want to stay more than 90 days

If you plan to stay more than 90 days in the USA, then you would need a regular B-1 or B-2 visa. Our Free Initial Review Service provides you with useful and practical support giving you an idea of the likely outcome of your application before informally instructing an immigration specialist.

Purpose of trips allowed under Tourism and Business visas

  • Tourism and vacation
  • Visiting family and friends
  • Medical treatment
  • Transiting the U.S.
  • Consulting with business associates
  • Travel for a convention or conference
  • Negotiating a contract

Aliens entering under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are subject to the same rules as those admitted in B-1 or B-2 status – meaning they are not allowed to work!