The Advantages of Being a VWP Country

Published on 2018-09-19



VWP – The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of specific countries to visit the United States without a regular travel visa. As of January 9th, 2019, citizens of 38 countries can travel under the VWP to the USA for business, tourism or medical reasons. Each visit cannot exceed 90 days. Visitors that wish to visit under the VWP will need to hold an approved ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before check-in at the airport and boarding an aircraft bound for the United States.

Why did the United States establish the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

The concept of visa-free travel was initiated in 1986 to facilitate travellers from foreign countries to enter the USA for short-term business travel. The first country to enter the VWP was the United Kingdom. They were followed by Japan, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and others. Other European countries joined in 1991, such as Finland, West Germany, and Denmark. Rules and regulations were set to be approved as a VWP country.

Not only does the traveller need to hold a passport from a VWP country, but also obtain an approved ESTA. Here’s a list of rules that has to be followed:

  1. The applicant should be from a VWP country authorized by the Government of the United States of America. Further, a valid passport is also mandatory to travel to the US for business or visit.
  2. The ESTA usually is valid for two years from the date of issue or until the passport expires.
  3. The applicant can travel to the USA multiple times without applying for a new ESTA.
  4. The time between the visits should be reasonable, and there is also no extension of stays.

List of the countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program:

As of the year 2018, the following 38 countries are eligible for free visa entry into the United States. VWP countries include:

1. Andorra
2. Australia
3. Austria
4. Belgium
5. Brunei
6. Chile
7. Czech Republic
8. Denmark
9. Estonia
10. Finland
11. France
12. Germany
13. Greece
14. Hungary
15. Iceland
16. Ireland
17. Italy
18. Japan
19. Latvia
20. Liechtenstein
21. Lithuania
22. Luxembourg
23. Malta
24. Monaco
25. Netherlands
26. New Zealand
27. Norway
28. Portugal
29. San Marino
30. Singapore
31. Slovakia
32. Slovenia
33. South Korea
34. Spain
35. Sweden
36. Switzerland
37. Taiwan
38. United Kingdom

VWP Benefits

One of the main benefits of being a VWP country is that citizens of such countries don’t need a visa to visit the US. There’s no need for spending hours with paperwork or at the Embassy or even spend a significant amount of money on visa processing fees. It is especially useful for travellers that frequently visit the USA for business purposes. Ultimately, the Visa Waiver Program grants travellers access to the vast land of the free, home of the brave: The United States of America.


Learn about the ESTA application   |   Learn about updating your ESTA   |   Learn about checking your ESTA