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Visa Waiver / ESTA

US Business Visa Category Visa Waiver – ESTA

Suitable for those from cooperating countries seeking to visit the US

As a citizen of a participating country of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you’d be eligible to visit the US without needing a visa. You can travel either as a tourist or for a specifically permitted purpose as part of the program.

However, as Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) needs to be obtained before you travel.

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Participating VWP Countries

If you’re a national of any of the following countries, you’ll be eligible to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program – provided you’re not also considered a national of Iraq, Iran, Syria or Sudan.

Participating countries are as follows:

Andorra

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Brunei

Chile

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

Luxembourg

Malta

France

Germany

Greece

Italy

Japan

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Portugal

San Marino

Monaco

Netherlands

New Zealand

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Norway

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Korea

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Taiwan

United Kingdom

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Securing your required ESTA before you travel

To successfully enter the US under the VWP, you must have secured Electronic System for Travel Authorization – and it needs to be valid at the time of travel.

The ESTA questionnaire can only be legitimately completed and submitted via the official United States government website administered by US Customs and Border Protection. The only official website is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html – be wary of fraudulence as this is the only official ESTA-approved site.

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Do I need to have an E-passport?

Yes – as of April 1st 2016, everyone traveling under the VWP must have an e-passport. An e-passport is comprised of an electronic chip that stores all the same information found written within the physical passport.

Click here for further information regarding this requirement.

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How much is the ESTA fee?

For you to successfully submit an ESTA application, a $4 processing charge must be paid. If you’re application is approved and you’re authorized to travel, a further $10 fee will be charged to your card.

However, if you’re application is unsuccessful, no extra payment is required – you’ll simply pay the $4 processing fee.

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How long can I remain in the US under the VWP?

A traveller entering the US as part of the Visa Waiver Program is only permitted to remain in the US for a maximum of 90 days. Contrary to popular opinion, this is NOT the same as 3 months.

If you plan to remain in the US for longer than 90 days, you will not be able to travel under the VWP – a US visa will be required. For more information, obtaining legal advice is recommended as a greater degree of help can be provided to those who haven’t yet applied for a visa, as opposed to those who have experienced visa denial.

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What can I do in the US under the VWP?

For you to legally travel under the Visa Waiver Program, your intentions/reason for your visit must be permitted – these include tourism or visiting friends.

To see a full list of activities you’re permitted to do under this program, click here.

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Is there any way I would be denied to enter the US under the VWP?

If you have certain criminal convictions or are found to possess other factors that could be classed as complications, you may be disqualified entirely from traveling visa-free within the US.

To ensure you’re fully clued-up on the VWP terms and conditions, click here for more information from the United States Embassy in London.

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Important Visa Waiver Program changes

As of December 18th 2015, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act was signed into law. This specific Act changed the eligibility criteria of the VWP, involving increased restrictions. The US Customs and Border Protection implemented this Act on January 21st 2016.

The Act states that if potential travelers meet just one of the specified criteria, they will instantly be disqualified from traveling visa-free – even if they would otherwise be eligible to travel under the VWP.

For more information, click here to discover further information with regard to this Act, and here to read the additional restrictions imposed on VWP travelers as of June 2016.

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What do I do if I’ve been declined from traveling under the VWP?

If you’ve either been declined an ESTA or are simply deemed ineligible to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program, you will need to obtain a US visa in your passport before being permitted to travel.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Taxes, Company Formation, and Residency in the U.S.

We’ve compiled over 150 of the most frequent questions and answers (FAQs) on tax, company formation, and residency in the U.S. in our knowledge base. You can visit our knowledge base here.

If you find that your personal questions have not been answered, book a telephone consultation here.

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Get Advice on Taxation, Company Formation, and Residency in the U.S.

If you already have a project that you want to implement in the U.S., you will most likely have already dealt with the intense framework conditions in the U.S. Online, you can find a wealth of information on almost every subject. Though all this information is available, it is common for one to reach a point of confusion. There are too many aspects to consider simultaneously and the starting position can be complex.

To solve this mental knot and pave your way to success, jump on a 1-hour telephone counseling session based on taxation, incorporation, and residency in the U.S. In this conversation, we will discuss specific technical issues such as tax, U.S. corporations or LLCs. Or we can discuss any strategic options you are considering.

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