Visa Waiver Program & ESTA

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the
United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. visa. No
extensions beyond the 90 days may be granted. Visitors who enter under VWP cannot change
their immigration status, for example, to a student or temporary worker status. VWP travelers
are not permitted to work or study in the United States. If you plan to stay for more than 90
days, to study or to work, you MUST obtain a visa before traveling. Failure to do so could result
in your being detained at the port of entry and returned to Austria on the first available flight.

VWP travelers are required to obtain a travel authorization via the Electronic Systems for Travel
Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the United States. ESTA
is available in many different languages and accessible online. The fee for ESTA registration is
$14.00, payable online at the time of application. ESTA travel authorizations are generally valid
for two years, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. A visitor may travel to the
U.S. repeatedly within the validity period without having to apply for another ESTA. Note to
Austrian passport holders: In course of the ESTA registration, please enter the passport number
(consists of 1 letter and seven digits) without any spaces (sample: A1234567) and do not enter
any academic titles.

Please be aware that a search of “ESTA” in popular search engines may result in links to
fraudulent websites. Application for ESTA may only be made at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.

As of April 1, 2016, all Visa Waiver Program travelers are required to have an electronic passport (with chip). Important Note: Please read the Austrian Passport Information. To qualify for the VWP, travelers from participating countries must:

1. Have a valid passport issued by the participating country and be a citizen (not only a resident) of that country;
2. Be seeking entry for 90 days or less as a temporary visitor;
3. If entering by air or sea, have a round-trip ticket issued on an approved carrier and arrive in the United States aboard such a carrier (Most major airlines and cruise lines are approved. The Embassy does not have a list of approved carriers. Call the carrier if you have questions. If traveling by private plane or private boat, you must obtain a visa.);
4. If arriving by a land border, have proof of financial solvency and a domicile abroad.

Important Information for Travelers on the Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program applies for the United States of America, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S.-Virgin Islands. After entering the U.S. you may travel to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands within 90 days and re-enter the U.S. using any mode of transport. You may also enter the U.S. without a visa from Canada or Mexico for up to 90 days (please note that there will be a $ 6.00 fee, payable only in U.S. dollars). You will have to show financial proof to finance your trip at the port of entry. Travelers who apply for entry at a land border crossing point are not required to present round trip transportation tickets. However, all other VWP requirements apply to such travelers. Please do not apply for a visa if your travel plans meet the VWP requirements. Please note that the following travelers are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program and must obtain a visa prior to traveling to the United States:

  • Travelers who have been notified that their ESTA registration has been denied or revoked by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, or Syria.
  • Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, or Libya on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
  • People who intend to work in the U.S. (paid or unpaid!). This includes work as an au-pair or intern.
  • People who intend to stay in the U.S. for more than 90 days.
  • People who intend to attend school or university in the U.S.
  • People who have been refused admission into, or have been deported from the U.S. within the past five years.
  • People who have ever been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime (including drug-related offenses).
  • People who have been afflicted with a serious communicable disease, or who are drug abusers or addicts.
  • People who have participated in the persecution of any person under the control of the Nazi Government of Germany.
  • People who have ever been a member or representative of a terrorist organization.

If any of the above applies to you, you are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program and must apply for and obtain a visa prior to traveling to the United States. The detailed (step by step) visa application processing information is available at: Apply for a Visa. Current ESTA holders are encouraged to check their ESTA status prior to travel on CBP’s website at:
https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/.

If an individual is exempt from the travel restrictions above due to their diplomatic or military presence in one of the seven countries but receives an ESTA denial, they may go to the CBP website, or contact the CBP information Center. The traveler may also apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. For more information about the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, consult the Frequently Asked Questions on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

Please note that persons entering the United States on a visa and lawful permanent resident aliens (Green Card holders) do not need an ESTA registration.

Inquiries about ESTA: U.S. embassies and consulates do not have access to the ESTA database. Visa Waiver Program travelers with inquiries about their ESTA registration should visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Patrol (DHS/CBP) info center
or call the ESTA Help Line at +1-202-344-3710 Monday-Friday 0800-1600 Eastern Time (local time: 02:00 pm to 10:00 pm).

Important note:  If your passport has ever been reported lost or stolen to the authorities and then recovered, please do not attempt to use it for travel to the United States. A previously reported lost or stolen passport, even if the recovery has been reported, cannot be used for travel to the U.S. Under those circumstances, no new ESTA registration can be approved nor is an existing one valid any more. Please apply for a new passport under those circumstances.