Which countries participate in the Visa Waiver programme for the USA:
Of course citizens from the great majority of countries around the world cannot benefit from the ESTA system to visit the United States and only the countries on this list as determined by the American government have the right to benefit from this exemption. Of course, many of these countries are from the European Union which is undoubtedly why there are many tourists from these countries.
If you wish to learn more about the countries that are on this list here are the details:
Germany, Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Republic of Korea, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.
It is therefore imperative that you are a citizen of one of these countries to be able to visit the United States without a visa and simply using a simple ESTA authorisation. But what exactly does being a citizen of one of these countries actually mean? This simply means that you should hold the nationality of this country and your passport should be issued by this country, even if you actually live in another country. You must also hold a valid passport that should be either biometric or electronic, which is automatically the case for passports issued after 1st April 2016. This condition is necessary as an ESTA travel authorisation is digitally or electronically linked to your passport. We therefore recommend that you verify that your passport complies with these conditions before you apply for your ESTA.
The countries whose citizens do not require a visa or ESTA to visit the USA:
We will now examine the countries whose residents are free to visit the United States without an ESTA or a visa. These are actually particular cases which apply of course to American citizens and these, even if they possess double nationality, are on the sole condition that the passport used is an American passport.
It goes without saying that Canadian citizens that, as with American citizens, are free to visit the USA without an ESTA or visa. To this must however be added an exclusion as permanent residents of Canada that are also citizens of one of the ESTA programme member countries should apply for this electronic travel authorisation before entering the territory.
To conclude, those people who hold double nationality and one or both nationalities are from one of the countries on the above list need to complete this authorisation application on the condition of course that you travel using a passport issued by one of these countries.
The visitors that can no longer benefit from the visa waiver programme since 2016:
If you learned about the visa exemption programme and its conditions a few years ago then maybe you are not aware of certain changes that occurred in 2016.
It should be noted here that the ESTA electronic system of travel authorisation was mainly implemented to simplify the administrative procedures for certain categories of visitors as well as maximising territorial security by adding control in the form of this authorisation before visitors even boarded their plane or ship. This system has evolved over time and in accordance with the United States international relations with the aim of maintaining a consistent quality of the border controls. Therefore, and due to the recent attacks that have occurred in Europe we have noted an update and reinforcement of this programme that now excludes certain travellers.
These exemptions concern visitors that have also visited Iran, Syria, Iraq or the Sudan since the 1st March 2011 and those who hold the nationality of one of these countries, even in the case whereby they hold double nationality with one of the member countries. The latter are required to complete a visa application if they wish to visit the USA. Of course, any government, military, or civilian officials or agents that are on official business in one of these countries may continue to benefit from an ESTA authorisation and are therefore exempt from requiring a visa to visit the United States.
What other conditions need to be fulfilled to obtain an ESTA:
If you are a visitor from a member country of this ESTA Visa Waiver programme that we have detailed above then you can visit the United States using this system.
However, you should still respect the 90 day limit relating to your stay on American territory and cannot visit the USA for working or to follow studies.
Obtain a visa exemption:
To rapidly obtain a visa exemption you should apply for an ESTA online by following this link and completing a simple application form indicating your valid passport number.