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Visa Waiver Program - ESTA
 

The Visa Waiver Program - ESTA

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows Belgian citizens (and citizens of designated countries: for a complete list click here) to apply for admission to the United States as visitors (traveling for holiday and/or business OR  in transit) without first obtaining a non-immigrant business/tourist visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


To apply for admission into the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, the traveler must meet each of  the following conditions:

  1. You must have a valid machine-readable passport issued by the participating country and be a citizen (not only a resident) of that country. The passport must be valid for at least the duration of the stay in the U.S.  Children, even infants, need their own, individual machine-readable passport.

    If your current valid passport has this symbol on the cover () indicating it has an electronic chip, it is valid for Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travel.  If your passport does not have this symbol (), it may not be valid for VWP travel and the issuance/renewal date is important:
    •  Machine-readable passports issued or extended before October 26, 2005 are valid for travel  under the VWP.
    • If the machine-readable passport was issued or extended between October 26, 2005 and  October 26, 2006, it must have a digital photograph OR an integrated computer chip.
    • Machine-readable passports, issued or extended on or after October 26, 2006, require an  integrated chip.

    EXCEPTIONS:

    For more detailed information on compliant passports, please check the website of the U.S. embassy in the country of your nationality.

    •  Emergency and temporary passports must contain a chip to be eligible for VWP travel.
    • Passports of nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Republic of Korea, the Slovak Republic, Malta and Greece must contain a chip to be eligible for VWP travel. 
  2. Log onto the ESTA website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and obtain an electronic ESTA travel authorization:

    ESTA is a fully-automated, internet-based electronic system for screening  VWP passengers before they begin travel to the U.S.  VWP citizens must apply for advance authorization to travel to the U.S.  without a visa.

    ESTA is mandatory for VWP travelers from all VWP countries: travelers without a visa are required to obtain an electronic travel authorization prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to/through the U.S. For detailed  information regarding ESTA, please click here.   ATTENTION: Please obtain this electronic travel authorization (ESTA) before you make any travel arrangements.

  3. You must seek entry for 90 days or less for tourism, business or transit.   VWP travelers proceeding to Canada, Mexico or the Carribean Islands from the U.S. may re-enter the U.S. by air/sea or land.  However, their total stay in the region may not exceed 90 days. 
  4. If entering by air or sea, you must have a round-trip or onward transportation ticket issued by a carrier that has signed an agreement to participate in this program with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and you must arrive in the United States on such a carrier. Currently, most major transportation companies are participating in this program.  

    Travelers with onward tickets terminating in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be residents of these areas.

    If entering by land from Canada or Mexico, no onward ticket is required, but you should be prepared to show proof at the border that you can pay for your stay in the U.S. and that you have a domicile outside of the U.S. to which you intend to return.

  5. You must have proof of financial solvency (credit cards, traveler checks, etc.)
  6. Visitors applying for entry under the Visa Waiver Program may stay in the U.S. up to ninety (90) days. No extensions nor changes of status are allowed.

  
ATTENTION: The Visa Waiver Program is not valid for the following travelers.  These travelers need a visa:

  • Travelers planning  to stay more than 90 days
  • Travelers by private aircraft or boat
  • Students, travelers planning to take up paid or unpaid employment in the U.S. This also includes journalists/media workers, au-pairs and interns.
  • Travelers ineligible to enter the U.S. without a visa.  This includes those previously denied visas, with criminal records, immigration violations or contagious diseases of public  health significance.
  • Travelers with a diplomatic or official status AND who are traveling to/through the U.S. on an official mission.  Please click here for more details.
  • Non-citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries

OFFICIAL ESTA WEBSITE

  • ATTENTION: The only US-government approved ESTA website is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov  .  Other, for-profit organizations and individuals advertize ESTA services for a substantial fee.  The US government has no/no connection to such organizations or individuals and is not responsible for any service they promise, actual or implied.