The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States, including Nevada, without a visa. However, the foreigner must (1) have ESTA approval, (2) have an e-passport, (3) not pose a security risk, and (4) not suffer from any communicable diseases. The total visit to the United States may not last longer than 90 days.
Because Las Vegas is a major international destination for tourism, hospitality, gaming, conventions and business, the Visa Waiver Program is a convenient way for citizens of these countries to travel to Nevada without first having to secure a visa.
Below our Las Vegas immigration attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about how to travel to the U.S. without a visa.
- 1. Eligibility for the VWP in Nevada
- 2. How long can I stay in the visa waiver program, and what can I do there?
- 3. How do I apply for the VWP?
- 4. What countries are included in the VWP program?
Foreigners who wish to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to the time of travel. ESTA is the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) automated web-based system that determines eligibility to travel without a visa to the U.S. for tourism or business. In general, a non-citizen may qualify for VWP if all the following are true:
- the VWP applicant has an e-passport
- the VWP applicant does not pose any law enforcement or security risk
- the VWP applicant does not have a communicable disease (HIV is not considered a communicable disease for VWP purposes)
In cases where the foreigner has had a previous visa application rejected — or was ineligible for a U.S. visa — he/she does not meet VWP requirements and may not travel on the VWP. Furthermore, if the foreigner has previously traveled to America, he/she must have been found to be in compliance with the conditions of the prior entries to the U.S.
Note that if a foreigner is eligible for VWP travel but would prefer to have a visa, he/she may apply for the appropriate B visa.
The VWP allows eligible foreigners to travel in the U.S. without a visa for stays of 90 days or less as long as the purpose of travel falls within either of the following categories:
- Business, such as consulting with business associates, attending short-term training, negotiating a contract, or attending a scientific or education convention;
- Tourism, such as vacationing and site-seeing, or seeking medical treatment;
- Visiting, such as seeing friends or relatives, or participating in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations; or
- Pleasure, such as participating in an amateur musical or sporting event or contest (for no pay), or enrolling in a short course of study (not for a degree).
Examples of activities that foreigners are not permitted to do under the VWP in Nevada include:
- studying (for credit),
- having a job,
- working for a foreign press, radio, film, journalism, or other information media, or
- living as a permanent resident in the United States.
Generally, traveling through the U.S. to Canada or Mexico is permitted for VWP travelers.
Foreigners wishing to travel to the U.S. on the VWP must receive authorization through the ESTA prior to boarding a U.S.-bound plane or ship. Go to the online ESTA application.
ESTA applications may be approved online right away after submitting the application. However applicants are encouraged to apply at least 72 hours prior to departure just in case the travel authorization is denied for some reason, and the application needs correcting.
There are currently 38 countries that participate in the VWP. They include:
Note that citizens or nationals of the above-listed countries may be able to enter the U.S. under the VWP unless they are also a national of Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Sudan.
Need an immigration lawyer in Nevada? Contact us…
If you or a loved one is seeking entry to the U.S. with or without a visa, contact our Las Vegas immigration attorneys for a consultation. There are many nuances associated with immigration law, and it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nevada VWP lawyer who can help you with these matters.
Go to our Nevada visa law main page.