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Changes in U.S Visa Waiver Program Will Affect Some International Travellers

By 23 November 2022December 7th, 2022No Comments

The U.S waiver application is changing, and it could mean that some international travellers will no longer be able to visit America without a visa. The U.S Department of Homeland Security has announced new rules that will affect citizens of 40 countries who are currently able to travel to the U.S without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.

U.S Waiver Application Process

The U.S Waiver (VWP) allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for business or pleasure without having to obtain a visa. To be eligible for the VWP, travellers must have a valid passport from a participating country, an e-Passport with an integrated chip containing biometric information, and a round-trip ticket to the U.S.

VWP travellers are allowed to stay in the U.S for up to 90 days, and they can apply to all the other things to say. I know this is not just another example of these for an extension of their stay if necessary. However, VWP travellers cannot work or study in the U.S. and cannot extend their stay beyond 90 days. In return for this trade-off, the 40 countries involved must allow U.S citizens entrance to their countries without a visa for business or tourism purposes, and vice versa. 

The U.S waiver application processes involved can be quite tedious and confusing. To ensure that you do not encounter any challenges, you can contact Pardon Applications of Canada to guide you through this process without much hassle.

U.S Department of Homeland Security’s New Rules

The U.S Department of Homeland Security has announced new rules that will affect citizens of 40 countries who are currently able to travel to the U.S without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. The new rules state that VWP travellers must have a valid passport for at least six months after their planned departure from the U.S.

In addition, VWP travellers must have a digital passport photo and an e-Passport with an integrated chip containing biometric information. Travellers who do not have a passport that meets these requirements will be required to obtain a visa before they can travel to the U.S.

Again, the following set of travellers is now disqualified from travelling to the U.S under the U.S waiver application.

  • Unless you are a diplomat or in the military and serving one of the VWP countries, if you have been to Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen after March 1st, 2011 (with some exceptions), then you are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program.
  • Citizens of VWP countries who are also citizens of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.

Furthermore, starting from April 1st, 2016, you will need an e-passport to use the VWP. An e-passport is a secure passport with an electronic chip implanted onto it.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

To apply for the U.S Waiver Program, travellers must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The ESTA is an online application that takes about 20 minutes to complete. ESTA applications can be submitted at any time before travel, but it is recommended that you apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before your trip to the U.S.

Once you have submitted your ESTA application, you will receive a confirmation email within 72 hours. If your application is approved, you will be able to travel to the U.S under the VWP for up to 90 days. If your ESTA application is denied, you will have to apply for a visa through the U.S Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

Which Countries Are Affected by the New Rules?

The new rules will affect citizens of the following countries: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

Citizens of these countries will need a passport valid for at least six months after their planned departure from the U.S. They must have a digital passport photo and an e-Passport with an integrated chip containing biometric information.

What Are the Implications of the New Rules?

The new rules could mean that some international travellers can no longer visit America without a visa. The U.S Department of Homeland Security has said that the new rules are necessary to “strengthen security and prevent terrorist travel.”

What Do I Need To Do if I am a Citizen of One of the 40 Countries Affected by the U.S Visa Waiver Changes?

Suppose you are a citizen of one of the 40 countries affected by the U.S visa waiver changes. In that case, you will need to ensure that you have a valid passport for at least six months after your planned departure from the U.S. and that you have a digital passport photo and an e-Passport with an integrated chip containing biometric information. If you do not have a passport that meets these requirements, you must obtain a visa before travelling to the U.S.

If you or a loved one desire to visit the U.S through the U.S waiver, you have the option of the U.S waiver application. However, with the recent changes in the application process, it will be better to seek professional help. You stand a better chance of getting your application with the help of Pardon Applications of Canada. PAC will help review your application and ensure that you are eligible to apply for the visa. Contact PAC today and be a step closer to visiting the U.S.