New Rules for Visa Waiver Program & ESTA

Under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), citizens or nationals of 38 participating countries (see list below) are allowed to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. Travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel.

New U.S. laws after the deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, make significant changes to the Visa Waiver Program. The new laws add a dual national provision that requires citizens of those countries listed below to get visas if they also happen to be nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan.

Nationality can be conferred through marriage or birth and such nationality is rarely easy to renounce.  An Australia citizen born and raised in Australia may be considered Iranian based on father Iranian citizenship even though never visited the Middle East.  Civil liberties and minority rights groups pointed out that there is no international agreement on the rules of nationality and that many people are dual nationals even if they do not wish to be.

Citizens or nationals of the following countries* are currently eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), unless citizens of one of these countries are also a national of Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Sudan.

Andorra

Hungary

Norway

Australia

Iceland

Portugal

Austria

Ireland

San Marino

Belgium

Italy

Singapore

Brunei

Japan

Slovakia

Chile

Latvia

Slovenia

Czech Republic

Liechtenstein

South Korea

Denmark

Lithuania

Spain

Estonia

Luxembourg

Sweden

Finland

Malta

Switzerland

France

Monaco

Taiwan*

Germany

Netherlands

United Kingdom**

Greece

New Zealand

 

For more information on Visa Waiver Program, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.

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