The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for 90 days or less if they meet certain requirements. On Feb. 28, 2014, Chile became the 38th country to be designated for the Visa Waiver Program.
Beginning March 31, 2014, Chileans will be able to travel to the United States under this program. The Visa Waiver Program began as a way to facilitate international trade and tourism. This new designation illustrates that Chile and the United States have a shared interest in improving travel security and expanding foreign ties.
In order to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, Chileans must use an e-passport. An e-passport is a combined paper and electronic passport that contains biometric data which can be used to verify the person’s identity (typically fingerprints). Chile has been issuing e-passports since September of 2013.
There are also several general requirements for using the Visa Waiver Program:
• You must be a citizen of one of the 38 designated countries.
• You must be visiting the U.S. for less than 90 days for business or tourism purposes. Business purposes include consulting with business associates, attending training, attending a convention or negotiating a contract. Tourism purposes include going on vacation, visiting family or friends, receiving medical treatment or participating in social events, etc.
• You must apply to and be approved for ESTA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) automated web-based system to determine eligibility to travel without a visa to the United States for tourism or business.
• You must travel via an approved carrier.
• You must have no previous visa ineligibilities, such as a previous visa denial.
If you would like assistance in applying for the Visa Waiver Program, please contact one of our attorneys today!