What countries are included in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

How can a country join the Waiver Program?

The US government, along with nations that are interested in joining the Visa Waiver Program, collaborates to create “roadmaps” which outline the steps necessary to be eligible. A country is nominated to join the ESTA USA Visa Waiver Program when it meets the road map requirements. A country that is selected for the Visa Waiver Program has a high Human Development Index and a high-income economy. The US Department of Homeland Security must also approve the country’s immigration policies and security measures. After a country is nominated, there is no standard schedule for Waiver Program approval or rejection.


List of Visa Waiver Countries

  • Andorra (1991)
  • Australia (1996)
  • Austria (1991)
  • Belgium (1991)
  • Brunei (1993)
  • Chile (2014)
  • Croatia (2021)
  • Czech Republic (2008)
  • Denmark (1991)
  • Estonia (2008)
  • Finland (1991)
  • France (1989)
  • Germany (1989)
  • Greece (2010)
  • Hungary (2008)
  • Iceland (1991)
  • Ireland (1995)
  • Italy (1989)
  • Japan (1988)
  • Korea, Republic of (2008)
  • Latvia (2008)
  • Liechtenstein (1991)
  • Lithuania (2008)
  • Luxembourg (1991)
  • Malta (2008)
  • Monaco (1991)
  • Netherlands (1989)
  • New Zealand (1991)
  • Norway (1991)
  • Poland (2019)
  • Portugal (1999)
  • San Marino (1991)
  • Singapore (1999)
  • Slovakia (2008)
  • Slovenia (1997)
  • Spain (1991)
  • Sweden (1989)
  • Switzerland (1989)
  • Taiwan (2012)
  • United Kingdom** (1988)

The US Department of State started evaluating Visa Waiver Program acceptance in 2005 with certain key countries. Ten of the 19 original roadmap countries have now joined the Waiver program, but Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania remain roadmap countries. Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay also retain their roadmap status.

For several reasons, a nation that is part of the Visa Waiver Program may be demoted to the roadmap. It is more likely that its citizens will exceed the 90-day restriction, engage in gainful activities without permission, or violate Waiver Program rules. In 2002, both Argentina and Uruguay lost their Waiver Status due to their respective financial crises. The US administration was worried that citizens of these countries would overstay visas or leave in large numbers. It is widely believed that people from countries with stable economies and political systems are less likely to violate their visa requirements. Consulates in the US give these concerns much weight when deciding on Visas.


VWP Eligibility

Visa Waiver Program Eligibility is determined by factors other than economic and political ones. According to some analysts, Israel retains roadmap status because it subjected Palestinian Americans to extraordinarily severe scrutiny when they visited Israel, contravening the VWP’s mutuality provision.

The EU and US are currently negotiating the Waiver Program for Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania. All three countries have roadmap status but are not VWP members (except Croatia, which joined the EU recently and is the VWP’s newest member after a rapid accession). The Bulgarian government announced in November 2014 that they would not ratify Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership until the United States removed the requirement that Bulgarians obtain visas for travel to the United States.

Croatia joined the Visa Waiver Program in October 2021.