Visa Waiver Countries

The Visa Waiver Program has been around for over 20 years, although it has reached greater awareness and prominence in the post-911 era of travel.  The program has been modified over the years, with additional countries added to the list and an electronic travel component added, but the underlying purpose of the plan remains the same.

Visitors from specific countries are permitted to travel to the United States for a period of up to 90 days (for business or pleasure travel) without having to get a Visa.  There are specific requirements for countries to get on the waiver list, including security requirements, and the countries are generally considered developed economies.  Individuals from visa waiver countries must apply for travel through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and meet a variety of additional requirements.

There are currently 35 Visa Waiver Countries:

Europe:  Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

Asia:  Brunei, Japan, Singapore, South Korea

Oceania:  Australia, New Zealand

US visitors to those countries also are not required to have a visa, as part of reciprocity agreements, although Australia does require visitors to file an Electronic Travel Authority.

Visitors to the US can learn more about the Visa Waiver Program, its applicability and requirements from the Department of State.  Likewise, US residents wishing to travel abroad should also check regarding visa requirements for countries not on the wavier list.


Photo credit:  SXC

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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