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Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows nationals of 36 countries to visit the US for pleasure or business up to 90 days without a visa stamp. These individuals do not need to apply or pay for a visa stamp, and they do not need to visit a US consulate before they visit the US.

The countries participating in the VWP are:
  • Andorra
  • Hungary
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Ireland
  • Portugal
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • San Marino
  • Brunei
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Czech Republic
  • Latvia
  • Slovak Republic
  • Denmark
  • Liechtenstein
  • Slovenia
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • South Korea
  • Finland
  • Luxembourg
  • Spain
  • France
  • Malta
  • Sweden
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Switzerland
  • Greece
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom

 

Travelers from participating countries must:
  • Have a valid passport issued by the participating country and be a citizen (not just a resident) of that country.
  • Hold a Machine Readable Passport or an Electronic Passport.
  • Be seeking entry for 90 days or less. Extensions of stay are not permitted.
  • If entering by air or sea, have a round-trip ticket issued on a carrier that has signed an agreement with the US government to participate in the waiver program, and arrive in the US aboard such a carrier.
  • Have proof of financial solvency.
  • Travelers may enter by land from Canada or Mexico. Such travelers do not need to present a round-trip ticket or arrive on an approved carrier. All other requirements above still apply.

Visitors who enter under this program are admitted either as WT (Waiver Tourist) or WB (Waiver Business). Regulations for the WT holder are essentially the same as for a B-2 visa holder. Regulations for the WB holder are essentially the same as for a B-1 visa holder. Visitors may not be employed and may not study in the US.

Additional information on the Visa Waiver Program can be found here.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented ESTA, an online pre-approval system for travelers under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Visa Waiver travelers will be required to use ESTA to get advance approval to travel to the United States at least 72 hours before departing. The ESTA approval will allow a traveler to board a carrier for travel to the United States under the VWP, but will not guarantee admission to the United States. VWP travelers will still be inspected at ports of entry.

For more information on ESTA see this page.

Payments

WB status: Notre Dame may pay reasonable travel expenses to any visitor in WB status. In addition, Notre Dame may pay an honorarium to visitors in WB status for academic activities at Notre Dame. The paid activity may not exceed nine days. The visitor may not have been paid by more than five other US universities or other qualified government and non-profit institutions in the previous six months. All other standard Notre Dame rules for payments and travel reimbursements apply.

WT status: Notre Dame may pay an honorarium and reasonable travel expenses to visitors in WT status for academic activities at Notre Dame ONLY if the WT visitor was already in the US in that status when he/she was invited to Notre Dame. The paid activity may not exceed nine days. The visitor may not have been paid by more than five other US universities or other qualified government and non-profit institutions in the previous six months. All other standard Notre Dame rules for payments and travel reimbursements apply.

Changes of Status and Extensions of Stay

WT and WB visa holders may not change to a different visa status in the United States. They may not apply for an extension of their stay beyond 90 days.

Special Circumstances

Some travelers still need to apply for a visa, such as those who plan to work or study, who 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 US embassy or consulate before attempting to travel on the Visa Waiver Program.