Admission to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program
IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW
Foreign nationals who are citizens of certain countries can be admitted to the United States without visas as B-1 visitors for business or B-2 visitors for pleasure if they meet all the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program. The 38 countries whose citizens are eligible for admission in visa waiver status are listed at: https://www.dhs.gov/visa-waiver-program-requirements. Foreign nationals who qualify for admission under the waiver program are admitted to the United States for 90 days and cannot extend their stay or apply for a change to another nonimmigrant status. Visa waiver eligible foreign nationals who want to stay longer than 90 days should apply for B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant visas at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate rather than enter the United States in visa waiver status.
To qualify for admission in visa waiver status, a foreign national must be admissible to the United States and must be traveling within a period authorized under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (“ESTA”). Foreign nationals who have in the past been denied immigrant or nonimmigrant visas or who have previously overstayed a period of admission to the United States are not eligible to apply for visa waiver status under ESTA. Foreign nationals from a visa waiver county who are also citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria or foreign nationals from a visa waiver county who have traveled since March 1, 2011, to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen do not qualify for admission under the Visa Waiver Program.
HSPRD attorney advise and counsel foreign nationals from visa waiver countries concerning their rights and obligations under the Visa Waiver Program and when they need to apply for a visa instead of seeking admission under the Visa Waiver Program. To schedule a consultation with HSPRD attorneys to discuss matters related to the Visa Waiver Program, please contact our Firm at (312) 239-7675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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