“I would love to visit the United States. What do I need to do to make this happen?” If you are ready to visit the U.S. (but not live here), you will need to obtain a visitor visa. Depending on what country you live in, you may not be required to obtain a visitor visa. Under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), travelers from certain countries are exempt from obtaining a visitor visa. Under the VWP, qualifying visitors can travel to the United States on vacation (holiday) or for business for 90 days without obtaining a visa. Those who qualify under the VWP must acquire a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA); the ESTA has to be approved before the individual travels to the U.S. If you would rather have a visa in your passport, you can apply for a visitor (B) visa. To find out if you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, click here to go to the U.S. Department of State’s website.
Are You a Citizen of a VWP Designated Country?
In order for you to be approved under the VWP, you must be a citizen of a VWP designated country. While there are too many VWP-designated countries to list, here are some of the countries included:
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
With terrorism being a present threat, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Protection Act of 2015 made it so travelers from certain countries are no longer eligible to visit the U.S. through the VWP. These prohibited countries include: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Syria. In regards to the prohibited countries listed above, nationals from those countries can still apply for a visa through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate; they just cannot come to the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program.