Foreign visitors to the United States may require a travel visa, or prior registration through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
Visa Waiver Program
Citizens of the following 39 countries are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) of the United States:
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Malta
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
ESTA for Citizens of VWP Countries
Travelers from a VWP country must apply for permission to enter the United States no less than 72 hours prior to departure. This permission is granted through ESTA. ESTA applications can be submitted online at www.esta.cbp.dhs.gov. ESTA applications require the following:
- Valid passport from a Visa Waiver Program country.
- Traveler’s valid email address.
- Traveler’s home address and phone number.
- Traveler’s emergency contact and email address.
Payment of a $14.00 USD application fee is required and can be made using MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover (JCB or Diners Club only) and PayPal.
Travel to restricted countries: It is important to note that people who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011, or who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria are not eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program, and cannot apply for an ESTA.
Once ESTA authorization is received, the traveler will be permitted to enter the United States for business or pleasure for a period of up to 90 days. Each approved ESTA application is valid for two years and allows for multiple entries to the United States within that time.
Entry Requirements for Citizens of Nearby Countries & Islands
Separate from the Visa Waiver Program, the United States has implemented a special visa exemption for citizens of select countries.
Citizens of the Bahamas
A visa is not required, if the Bahamian citizen applies for entry at one of the U.S. CBP Preclearance Facilities located in either the Nassau or Freeport International Airport.
Citizens of Canada
Canadians entering the United States by air are required to present a valid passport or NEXUS card. When entering the United States by land or water, Canadians must present a valid passport, NEXUS card, Free and Secure Trade card (FAST) or an enhanced driver’s license or identification card.
Citizens of British Overseas Territories
Entry to the United States for citizens of British Overseas Territories including Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands may be visa-free, but requirements vary significantly per territory. Readers are encouraged to consult the State Department website for guidance on visa and entry requirements.
U.S. Visa Requirements for Citizens of non-VWP Countries
Citizens of countries not included in the Visa Waiver Program or in the special exemption for certain contiguous and island nations will require a visa for entry to the United States. Two primary visa types are offered: the Business (B-1) visitor visa, and the Tourism (B-2) visa. Because requirements vary according to country, it is recommended that you begin your research on the U.S. State Department’s website for visitor visas.