Visa Waiver Program

In 1986, the US government created the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) as a way to increase tourism and business travel to the United States. The VWP allows citizens of 38 participating countries to come to the United States - and stay for up to 90 days - without first obtaining a visa. However, recent changes to the VWP prohibit certain visitors from participating in visa-free travel to the United States. The changes, implemented in January 2016, exclude the following individuals from travelling to the United States without a visa: 

  1. Any citizen of a VWP country who is also a citizen of Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Sudan

  2. Any citizen of a VWP country who has visited Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Sudan on or after March 1, 2011, unless such travel was to perform military or official government service for a VWP country 

Our attorneys have opposed these discriminatory and unreasonable restrictions since they were first proposed in late 2015, and we remain committed to advocating for VWP reform. Please continue to visit our website, or subscribe to our newsletterfor the latest updates about the VWP. 

Articles by our attorneys concerning the visa waiver program

Visa Waiver Program Update: EU Declines to Impose Visa Restrictions on Americans Traveling to the EU

Visa Waiver Program Update: EU Sets Deadline for Recommendations Concerning Whether to Impose Visa Restrictions on Americans Wishing to Visit the EU

Frequently Asked Questions about the Visa Waiver Program

Protecting Iranian-Americans from Second-Class Citizenship Overseas, Caitlin Steinke, Huffington Post, Feb. 14, 2016

Additional resources

United States Begins Implementation of Changes to the Visa Waiver Program, US Department of Homeland Security, Jan. 21, 2016

Visa Waiver Program, US Department of State

Electronic System for Travel Authorization, US Customs and Border Protection