Visa Waiver Countries2018-01-30T09:34:06+00:00

All you need to know about the Visa Waiver Countries

What is the Visa Waiver Program and what are Visa Waiver Countries?

The Visa Waiver Program was introduced by the United States of America in order to make it easier for nationals of certain countries to enter the US. Entry is facilitated by the considerably faster and more uncomplicated process of applying for a USA visa. For several decades now, citizens of some countries such as Germany, Australia or Great Britain have been enjoying the benefits of being able to enter the USA more easily. Since 2008, the US government has extended the Visa Waiver Program to include an online-based visa application, the ESTA (Electronic System of Travel Authorization). Members of the Visa Waiver Program can quickly and easily apply for a visa.

The 38 Visa Waiver Countries

Andorra Estonia Italy Monaco Slovenia
Australia Finland Japan Netherlands Spain
Austria France Republic of Korea New Zealand Sweden
Belgium Germany Latvia Norway Switzerland
Brunei Greece Liechtenstein Portugal Taiwan**
Chile Hungary Lithuania San Marino United Kingdom*
Czech Republic Iceland Luxembourg Singapore
Denmark Ireland Malta Slovakia

ESTA is requested annually by millions of tourists and business travellers. However, many travellers are unaware that their home country is a one of the Visa Waiver countries until they start to plan their trip and apply for their visa. This “surprise” makes the entry permit much more pleasant for some people, but more complicated and time-consuming for others.

If you want to apply for an ESTA, you have to go to the official site of the American border authority. An online application is offered and can be paid using a credit card or PayPal (the processing fee is 14 US $). Normally, the visa application process is completed within a few minutes. Due to the good and easy operation, the ESTA application has succeeded in achieving what was the goal of the Visa Waiver Program, to simplify the entry into the United States of America significantly! Many countries act according to the American model and introduce electronic visa application systems, so it is possible that in a few years’ time an online application will be available for each country according to the ESTA model.

The Visa Waiver countries

The Visa Waiver Program has various conditions of entry. It is also tied to specific purposes. The Visa Waiver Program can only be attended by nationals of so called Visa Waiver countries that are also expressly participating in the Program. A list of these countries is shown below:

In addition to nationality, however, the purpose of the trip is also relevant. Under the Visa Waiver Program and with a valid US ESTA, visits to the United States may only be made for tourist and business purposes. Work, study or similar activities are not permitted and can only be carried out with a respective visa (e.g. J1 visa).

Also important: With an ESTA, you are allowed to stay in the USA for a maximum of 90 days, after which you must leave the country at least temporarily. The ESTA is valid for two years. Within these two years you may return to the USA as often as you wish.

How to check if you are eligible for USA ESTA

You can check if you are eligible to apply for an ESTA by using our visa checker. Just select your country of citizenship and the checker will tell you the result immediately. You can then also simply click on the blue button to directly apply for your personal USA ESTA.

Choose your country of citizenship

Applying for a USA visa as citizen of one of the Visa Waiver countries

Citizens of Visa waiver countries can apply for an ESTA via the official government website. However, this is bound to some requirements regarding the reason of travelling. You are not allowed to take up work or studies while inside the US. In general it can be said that the ESTA is for temporary visits only. This means that if you are intending to stay inside the USA for a long term, ESTA is not the right visa for you and you should check your possibilities regarding different kinds of visa. The following list shows all kinds of non-immigration visa for the United States.

Type Purpose Application Process More information at
A-Visa Visa for diplomats or goverment officials Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
A-2 /NATO1-6 For military members of foreign countries staying inside the U.S. in capacity of their duties. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
B-Visa (B1/B2) B1 for Business, B2 for tourism visitors. Also for athletes competing for prize money. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
BCC Border Crossing Card for Mexicans Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
C-Visa Transit visa for citizens of countries that are not participating in the Visa Waiver Program Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
CW-1 Visa for employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who want to employ foreign workers Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
D-Visa Visa for crew members (aircraft or ship) Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
E-Visa Traders, Investors and professional specialists from Australia Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
ESTA / Visa Waiver Program Business and tourism visa for citizens of Countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program. Online process Visit this website for more information.
F/M-Visa Students from foreign countries, intending to take up studies inside the U.S. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
G-Visa (G1/G5/NATO) Employee of certain international organisations like for example NATO Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
H-1B-Visa (H-1B/H-2B) For seasonal workers (H-2B) performing temporary work and for specialists that perform in fields that require highly specilized skills and knowledge (H-1B). Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
H-1B1-Visa For foreign workers from Chile and Singapore Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information about Chile and this website for more information about Singapore .
H-2A-Visa For workers that do temporary work inside the agricultural sector. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
H-3-Visa For individuals wanting to participate in training that is not primarily connected to employment. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
I-Visa For Journalists and media officials Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
J1-Visa Au pair, Student, Professor or scholar exchange. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
L-Visa For employees of a international company that are transfered internaly Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
O-Visa Visa for exceptional skilled individuals (regarding the topics: Science, Sports, Arts, Education and Business) Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
P-Visa (P1/P2/P3) For athleets, entertainers and artists that want to perform inside the U.S.. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
Q-Visa For international visitors acting in the capacity of official cultural exchange. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
R-Visa For religious workers intending to do temporary work inside the U.S. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
T-Visa For people who suffered under human trafficking. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
TN/TD-Visa For professional workers from Canada and Mexico (in the capacity of NAFTA) Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
U-Visa For people suffering as a victim of a crime. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.
V-Visa For individuals who do not plan to immigrate into the U.S. and are spouse or children of a person having permanent resident status inside the U.S.. Manual process including U.S.-embassies Visit this website for more information.

Applying for a USA visa as citizen of one of the non-Visa Waiver countries

This depends on the intention of your visit. If you want to visit the USA as a tourist, you will need to apply for a B1/B2 visa. This is done by setting up an account at this website. You will then have to set up an appointment with the nearest US embassy to get interviewed. Make sure to hold ready all needed documents. If you are intending to immigrate to the US or if you want to take up studies or work inside the US, you will need a special type of visa.

The Visa Waiver Country list is a subject to be changed

The list of visa waiver countries is constantly reviewed. It is also in the interest of the United States of America to include countries that can be designated as safe countries of origin in the Visa Waiver Program. Unfortunately, only a few countries meet the strict conditions, and it can only be assumed what kind of criteria for assessing a country are being applied. It is very likely that the overall economic and political situation will be assessed (at least in the medium term). It also looks like the relationship between each country and the USA is being assessed.