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Frequently Asked Questions about the Visa Waiver Program

Frequently Asked Questions about the Visa Waiver Program

Can I enter the United States from anywhere in the world?

You may travel visa free to the U.S. from anywhere in the world if you meet all of the requirements for visa free travel.

I left the US but still have my I-94/I-94W. What should I do?

You will need to submit your I-94/I-94W to the USCIS office in London, Kentucky. For details, please see About Form I-94 page.

If I enter the U.S. on vacation, can I then travel to Canada/Mexico/Bermuda or the islands in the Caribbean?

You may travel to Canada/Mexico/Bermuda or the islands in the Caribbean provided you have a return or onward ticket. If your return journey will take you back through the U.S., even if only in transit, the total trip, including both periods of time spent in the U.S./Canada/Mexico/Bermuda, or the islands in the Caribbean cannot exceed 90 days unless you can demonstrate that your stay in Canada/Mexico/adjacent countries is meaningful. If it does, you will require a visa.

What if I want to stay in Mexico/Canada/Bermuda or the islands of the Caribbean?

If your ticket terminates in Mexico/Canada/Bermuda or the islands of the Caribbean, you must be a legal resident of the area to qualify for visa free travel. If you are not and your stay will exceed 90 days from the date on which you first entered the U.S., you will require a visa unless you can demonstrate that your stay in Canada/Mexico/adjacent countries is meaningful.

Do I have to enter and leave the U.S. by a participating carrier?

You are only required to enter the United States by a participating carrier. Your onward or return journey may be by any mode of transport, provided you hold a return or onward ticket.

If I travel to the U.S. visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, will I be able to get the 90 days extended?

The maximum period of time you may remain in the U.S., if you enter visa free, is 90 days.

Can I enter the U.S. by land from Canada or Mexico?

If you enter by land there is no requirement that you be in possession of a round trip or onward ticket. The immigration authorities at the border crossing will issue you an arrival/departure record card (I-94W). You will be charged a $6.00 administrative fee which is only payable in U.S. dollars. This fee is charged to all travelers regardless of whether or not they have a visa. For those entering the U.S. by air or sea, the fee is included in the cost of the ticket.

If I fly into the U.S. and out of Canada or Mexico, do I need a visa?

It will depend on your itinerary. If you have an onward ticket for each stage of your journey, including the journey between the United States and Canada or Mexico, you may travel without a visa. Should you choose to travel this way, you must be in possession of the tickets for each stage of your journey on your initial entry to the United States. You cannot buy the ticket for the journey between the United States and Canada or Mexico on your arrival in the U.S. If you will depart the U.S. for Canada or Mexico by private transport, you will require a visa.

The last time I travelled to the U.S. visa free, I stayed longer than 90 days. Will I have a problem?

As you overstayed your last visit to the U.S. you are not eligible to travel visa free. You will require a visa.

I will transit through the U.S. to Mexico/Canada/Bermuda or the islands in the Caribbean. Does the 90 day period begin on the initial entry into the U.S., even though I am there for only a couple of hours?

The regulations are the same as if you entered the United States for a visit. If you will transit the U.S., even if only for a couple of hours, to Mexico/Canada/Bermuda or the islands of the Caribbean, the total trip including both periods of time spent in the U.S./Canada/Mexico/Bermuda or the Caribbean islands cannot exceed 90 days. If it does, you will require a visa, unless you are a legal resident of the country.

I was denied a visa on a recent visa application, may I use the VWP?

A recent visa denial for any reason could result in denial of an authorization via ESTA, additional questioning at the port of entry, or denial of admission to the U.S. Applicants who are uncertain of whether they qualify for VWP travel may choose to apply for a visa.

I will enter the United States aboard a private plane. Can I travel visa free?

If you are entering the U.S. aboard a private aircraft of a U.S. corporation that has entered into an agreement with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to carry passengers under the Visa Waiver Program, you will not require a visa if you are eligible for visa free travel. If you are entering aboard any other private or official aircraft, you will require a visa.

How can I find out if my employer can carry visa free passengers on its' aircraft?

You must contact your employer. The Embassy does not have a list of corporations that have entered into an agreement with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to carry passengers under the Visa Waiver Program.

I will enter the U.S. on a private ship. Can I travel visa free?

If you are entering the U.S. on a private ship, you will require a visa.

Is there a limit to the number of times I may travel to the United States visa free in any given period of time?

There is no limit to the number of times you may travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program in any given period. There is also no minimum period of time you are required to remain outside the U.S. before reapplying for admission. If you are a frequent traveler to the United States, it is advisable that you carry with you for presentation to U.S. immigrations evidence of your residence abroad to which you intend to return at the end of your visit together with evidence of funds sufficient for your support while in the United States. If the immigrations inspector is not convinced that you are a bona fide visitor for business or tourism, you may be denied entry.

I am a citizen of a visa waiver program (VWP) country and I have lost my passport. Can I still transit the US?

U.S. immigration authorities will grant a parole (special admission) to an otherwise admissible VWP national whose passport is lost/stolen under the following conditions: The VWP traveler:

  • Must have had his/her passport lost, stolen or expired while outside the home country
  • Must present an emergency or temporary passport issued by a government authority to replace a lost or stolen passport
  • Must be in direct and continuous transit through the United States for the purpose of returning home
  • Must have confirmed airline tickets (or electronic ticket record) for return to the home country
  • Must be admissible to the United States
  • Must pay a $65 parole fee if granted a parole

How can I get additional information?

Additional information on the Visa Waiver Program is available from the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection website.