If you need to travel to the United States for a short period of time to work or conduct business, applying for and obtaining a nonimmigrant visa may seem daunting and time-consuming. It is important to realize that some people may qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows you to enter and temporarily stay in the U.S. without a visa. Not everyone is eligible for travel under the VWP, however, and you should discuss your eligibility with an experienced business immigration lawyer in Los Angeles.
Your Home Country
First, in order to qualify for a visa waiver, you have to be a citizen of a country who participates in the program. There are nearly 40 countries of which citizenship will make you eligible for the VWP, provided you meet the rest of the criteria. Unfortunately, if you are a citizen of a qualifying country as well as a citizen of Syria, Iraq, Iran, or Sudan, you will not be eligible for the VWP.
Even if you know you meet the qualifications for a visa waiver, you still have to get authorization to travel from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). When you enter your information into your ESTA account, it will determine your eligibility, including whether you have the right passport and whether you have visited prohibited countries in recent years. You need to update your ESTA information if your answers change or at least every two years.
Once you have authorization and arrive at a port of entry, expect the officer to screen you and enroll you in the United States Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program.
Consult with an Immigration Lawyer in Los Angeles about Your Situation
The Gold Law Group advises clients in many different immigration situations about visas, visa waivers, green cards, and more. Call 323.394.1281 or contact us online for more information today.