The U.S. government has announced new rules regarding travel from the Visa Waiver Program countries (VWP) of Andorra, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, San Marino and Slovakia.

The changes go into effect on October 1, 2021 and are designed to ensure that travelers who come to the United States through the VWP do not pose a risk of terrorism or other security threats.

As part of an ongoing review process, the Department of Homeland Security is requiring travelers coming in through the VWP to provide additional information before they can enter the country. This includes confirming their identity, address history and electronic travel authorization.

This applies to any traveler who comes to the United States through the VWP after September 30, 2021; anyone who came to the United States between July 15 and Oct. 31, 2021; and people arriving via the VWP before July 15, 2021. In addition, individuals must also submit to enhanced vetting procedures if the individual has traveled abroad since Jan. 1, 2020, unless they have evidence that they have been cleared by the DHS. The latter group will be subject to the normal entry screening requirements.

For those entering through the VWP, the new regulations require travelers to confirm their identities upon arrival and provide information about where they’ve lived and worked in the past five years. They’ll also need to provide an “electronic travel authorization” that allows them to cross borders without having to re-enter the country each time they travel internationally.

If you’re planning on traveling to the United States as a result of these changes, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities as a VWP traveler. Here’s what you should know.

What Is the Visa Waiver Program?

The visa waiver program was created by Congress in 1990 to allow visitors to enter the United States without needing a visa. Under the program, citizens from 38 countries — including Australia, Canada, Japan, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea and most European nations — don’t need to obtain a visa to visit the U.S. However, travelers still need to register with the State Department at least 72 hours before departure.

The program works by allowing certain passport holders of participating countries to enter the U.S. without a visa. To qualify, you must apply online for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which requires you to provide biographic data, proof of identity, and details concerning your finances, family members and previous trips to the United States. You must also answer questions related to your health, criminal record, travel patterns and contact information, and provide fingerprints and digital photos.
The person can opt for the visa waiver program after having the complete detail of the esta form. If the complete concept will be clear in people mind then reaching the goals become easy. The main motive of people is to take the steps that will surely help in reaching the goals. The main matter of concern is to reach the goals.

Will I Have to Provide Additional Information?

Under the new rules, all travelers entering the United States through the VWP will now be required to provide additional information when they arrive in the country. While this won’t affect everyone who travels through the VWP, it will impact anyone coming in through the program after Sept. 30, 2021. Individuals who entered the U.S. prior to July 15, 2021, and/or between July 16 and Aug. 31, 2021, will also be required to provide this additional information.

The new rule does not affect individuals who travel through the VWP prior to July 16, 2021. As such, anyone who is currently enrolled in the program will continue to be able to enter the country without providing additional documentation. If you’re unsure whether or not you fall under one of these categories, check our guide to the VWP eligibility requirements.

Travelers coming to the United States from the VWP countries will also be required to provide an ESTA before being allowed to enter. These authorizations will include more detailed information than ever before, including the following:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Marital status
  • Address history
  • Social security number
  • Previous address history
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Fingerprints
  • Digital photographs

These documents will be available on and used to verify the traveler’s identity.

How Does the Enhanced Entry Screening Work?

Starting on Dec. 22, 2021, the enhanced entry screening process will be put into place for travelers entering the United States through the VWP. This means that if you travel through the program after that date, you will be subjected to the same screening process as anyone else.

To begin, you’ll need to pass through secondary inspection at the port of entry. Afterward, you’ll need to undergo a background check. Finally, you’ll be asked to complete a full customs declaration form. All of these steps follow standard procedures, but the enhanced screening will likely take longer than usual due to the increased scrutiny.

Individuals entering the U.S. through the VWP will also be required to provide their full names, nationalities, social security numbers and passport numbers as well as biometric records, financial records and contact information. You’ll also be required to provide a list of travel destinations and dates over the last five years to prove compliance with the travel restrictions.

If you’re unable to provide all of the information requested, you may be denied entry into the United States. Failure to comply with the enhanced entry screening requirements could result in denial of entry into the United States. Any travelers who enter the country after Dec. 22, 2021, will also be required to meet these standards. For more information on this process, check out our article explaining how the VWP works.