The Visa Waiver Pilot Program

The Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP) enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. visa. The VWPP is authorized through April 30, 2000. The Visa Waiver Pilot Program is administered by the Attorney General in consultation with the Secretary of State.

Currently there are 26 participating countries in the VWPP, including: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.

The criteria for inclusion in the VWPP are a 3 % or less rate of refusals of visitor visa applications over the previous fiscal year, reciprocal treatment of American nationals, a program for issuance of machine-readable passports, and a determination by the U.S. Attorney General that a country's inclusion would not damage U.S. law enforcement interests.

To qualify, travelers from participating countries must:

- Have a valid passport issued by the participating country and be a citizen (not only a resident) of that country;

-- Be seeking entry for 90 days or less as a temporary visitor;

-- If entering by air or sea, have a round-trip transportation ticket issued on a carrier that has signed an agreement with the U.S. government to participate in the waiver program, and arrive in the United States aboard such a carrier.

-- Have proof of financial solvency and hold a completed and signed visa waiver arrival/departure form (I-94W), on which he/she has waived the right to a hearing of exclusion or deportation. These forms will be available from participating carriers, from travel agents, and at land-border ports-of-entry. (Travelers should consult carriers before departure to verify which ones are participating.)

Entry at a land border crossing point from Canada or Mexico is permitted under the VWPP. Travelers who apply for entry at a land border crossing point are not required to present round-trip transportation tickets or arrive at the border entry point aboard a carrier who has signed an agreement with the U.S. to participate in the VWPP. All other VWPP requirements apply to such travelers.

Visitors applying for entry under this program are allowed to remain 90 days (no extensions granted) and cannot change their status. Consistent with regulations pertaining to B1/B2 temporary visitor visas, travelers coming under the VWPP cannot work or study.

Certain travelers still need to apply for a visa, such as those who plan to work or study, stay more than 90 days, or who might otherwise be ineligible for a visa. Travelers previously denied visas, or who have criminal records, or who believe they may be ineligible for a visa, should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before attempting to travel on the VWPP.