Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business [visitor (B) visa purposes] for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established in 1986 with the objective of eliminating unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all travelers from VWP countries are eligible to use the program. VWP travelers are screened prior to admission into the United States, and they are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT program.
Visa Waiver Program - Participating Countries:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Republic of Korea and the Slovak Republic will be able to travel without a visa for tourist and business travel of 90 days or less beginning on November 17, 2008, provided they possess a biometric passport and register on-line through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
All VWP travelers, regardless of age or type of passport used, must present a machine-readable passport.