1. WHAT IS THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAM?
The Visa Waiver Program has been implemented by the USA government as a faster, more convenient online application process to travel to the USA. Currently, there are 39 countries in this program Luxembourg being one of them.
However, since the Trump administration is now in office, changes can and should be expected. Therefore, not only all citizens of Luxembourg but also all VWP countries’ citizens should always check any news or changes in the Visa Waiver Program regarding rules about traveling to the USA.
As it is widely known, the Trump administration is also known to be controversial. For example, it’s been trying to restrict more Muslims entering the USA, which has resulted in a controversial travel ban for seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Lybia, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.
The newest plan in 2019 is to add the 39th country to the Visa Waiver Program – Malaysia.
Since the program is made by the U.S. government, they’re the one making the rules and regulations, there’s nothing really the VWP countries can do individually to make a better agreement for its citizens. As the USA is the one calling the shots, and with Trump administration in office, it is worth remembering that most likely the ESTA regulations under the VWP may become only stricter. Also, the program won’t open doors for all countries to be able to travel in the USA in a more convenient way.
Expect changes, expect new criteria that will need to be met in order to qualify for an ESTA. As well as expect that any given moment a country may be removed from the program, therefore, its citizens will need to obtain a Visa once again in order to travel to the USA.
For example, all citizens of VWP can now follow along with the UK’s Brexit, which will show whether UK’s citizens will still be allowed to use ESTA to travel to America or instead they will have to obtain a Visa.
Currently, there are a few criteria that need to be fulfilled from the citizens of the Visa Waiver Program countries, such as:
- Your visit in the USA cannot extend 90 days.
- Your purpose of travel is short-term tourism, business (but not to be employed) or transit.