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Visa Waiver Program

Travel on the Visa Waiver Program

Last Updated on 02/26/2016
Traveling visa-free or with a visa charts

Traveling visa-free or with a visa

Important Notices

DHS Announces Further Travel Restrictions for the Visa Waiver Program:

Washington—The Department of Homeland Security today announced that it is continuing its implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 with the addition of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries.

Pursuant to the Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security had sixty days to determine whether additional countries or areas of concern should be subject to the travel or dual nationality restrictions under the Act. After careful consideration, and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined that Libya, Somalia, and Yemen be included as countries of concern, specifically for individuals who have traveled to these countries since March 1, 2011. At this time, the restriction on Visa Waiver Program travel will not apply to dual nationals of these three countries. DHS continues to consult with the Department of State and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to develop further criteria to determine whether other countries would be added to this list.
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Under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, travelers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

-- Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).

-- Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.

These individuals will still be able to apply for a visa using the regular appointment process at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  For those who require a U.S. visa for urgent business, medical, or humanitarian travel to the United States, U.S. Embassies and Consulates stand ready to handle applications on an expedited basis.

If an individual who is exempt from the Act because of his or her diplomatic or military presence in one of the four countries has his or her ESTA denied or revoked, he or she may go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website, www.cbp.gov or contact the CBP information Center, http://www.cbp.gov/contact.  The traveler may also apply for a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Certain other travelers who fall under this restriction may qualify for a waiver of the requirements.  More information about possible waivers is forthcoming.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection strongly recommends that any traveler to the United States check his or her ESTA status at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ prior to making any travel reservations or travelling to the United States. 
More information is available at www.dhs.gov/visa-waiver-program and at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html.
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If you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program partner but have received notice that you are no longer eligible to travel to the United States under that program, you should apply for a non-immigrant visa at least three months in advance of your desired travel.  If you do not have imminent travel plans, you should pay the non-immigrant visa application fee, fill out the DS-160 non-immigrant visa application form at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/, and schedule a visa appointment.  If your travel is imminent, you may request an expedited visa appointment. Please include in your request the date and purpose of your travel, as well as a copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection message you received regarding your ESTA status.

For more information please visit the webpage of the Department of State.
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Please note: On August 6, 2010, the United States Customs and Border Protection agency announced the implementation of a $14 fee beginning September 8 for applications made through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).  This fee is based upon the costs incurred for administering the system and as established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. 

This fee affects all travelers visiting the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.  Travelers in possession of a United States visa or already with an approved ESTA will not need to pay a fee, however, they will be subject to the fee when applying for a new ESTA.  ESTA authorization is good for two years.

The United State Embassy in Budapest would like to remind all travelers that completion of an ESTA is required for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.  We recommend that the ESTA be completed at least 72 hours prior to travel. 

All third-party services offering to facilitate completion of the ESTA are not affiliated with the U.S. Embassy and have no influence on the ESTA approval or processing time.  We advise travelers to exercise caution and to scrutinize the services provided before using any third-party service.

Travelers wishing to register for ESTA directly should visit the ESTA website to apply. The ESTA application website is available in 22 languages and includes a help section that provides additional information for VWP travelers to guide them through the application process. Additional information about ESTA is available on the DHS web site.

Overview

Beginning November 17, 2008, Hungarian citizens intending to visit the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days are eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if all the following requirements apply: 

  • The traveler is in possession of a valid Hungarian e-passport with an electronic chip. (All individuals with biometric passports are eligible to apply for ESTA, regardless of whether their fingerprints have been taken by the Hungarian authorities.) The Hungarian e-passport has a reddish cover, while the older non-electronic passport covers are blue. Travelers with either passport (blue or e-passport) and a valid visa may continue to travel as before. 
  • The traveler is holding a return or onward ticket to his or her country of residence. If traveling on an electronic ticket, a copy of the itinerary must be carried for presentation to U.S. immigration at the port of entry.
  • The traveler has a valid authorization from the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).  Please print your authorization and carry it with you when you travel. The Secretary of Homeland Security has established a fee for the use of the ESTA system, comprised of $10.00 for each VWP applicant receiving authorization to travel to the United States and $4.00 for the processing of the ESTA application. Applicants who are denied authorization to travel to the U.S. under the VWP will only be charged $4.00. The fee may only be paid by credit card.  
  • Please check whether you are eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program: VWP checklist (PDF 388K).

Additonal Information about the Visa Waiver Program

Important reminder:

Visa-free travel does not include those who plan to study, work or remain more than 90 days in the United States. Such travelers need visas.  If an immigration official has reason to believe that a VWP traveler is going to study, work or stay longer than 90 days, the officer will refuse to admit the traveler.

Airport security:

Please note: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Announces Enhanced Security Measures for Travelers to the United States (July 6, 2014)

ESTA Information

  • ESTA logo
    Go to ESTA
    (Electronic System for Travel Authorization)
  • ESTA - Get It and Go
    Video by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - wmv, 6.3 MB
    (in English with English captions)

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