In this post, we share exciting news for Israeli nationals. The U.S. government recently designated Israel as the 41st country to join the Visa Waiver Program (also known as ESTA) effective November 30, 2023.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what this means and how it can benefit you.
If you want to know more about this exciting news, please keep on watching!
To travel under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) you must:
- Be a citizen or eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country.
- Not be in possession of a visitor’s visa.
- Your travel to the USA must be for 90 days or less.
- You must plan to travel to the United States for business or pleasure.
- Not be inadmissible to the USA nor previously denied a U.S. visa
Did you know that the United States operates a Visa Waiver program? This special program allows nationals from participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes without a U.S. visa, for a period of up to 90 days. Temporary stays under the Visa Waiver Program cannot be extended for periods longer than 90 days.
Recently, Israel was given the privilege of participating in this program. That means that starting November 30th Israeli nationals will be able to apply for travel permission to the United States online using the Electronic System for Travel Authorizations (ESTA). Once approved, this travel permission is valid for a period of two years once it has been issued. You cannot travel to the United States until your ESTA has been approved and issued to you.
If you are an Israeli national and you already have a valid U.S. visa in your passport, then you cannot use the Visa Waiver Program for tourism or business purposes. If you are interested in visiting the United States for longer than 90 days, then you should consider traveling to the U.S. on a visa.
Please be aware that this program will not benefit you if you have ever been denied a U.S. visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate or if you have previously been found to inadmissible to the United States.
Others may be prevented from using the Visa Waiver Program, if they have traveled to the following countries:
- Nationals of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries who have traveled to or been present in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen 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 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries who have traveled to or been present in Cuba on or after January 12, 2021 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
- Nationals of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries who are also nationals of Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.
If you fall into one of the categories above, then you will need to obtain a U.S. visa before traveling to the United States.
What countries are eligible to apply for ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program?
You must be a citizen or national of the following countries to be eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. If your country is not listed below, then you must apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
What do I need to apply for an online ESTA?
- You must have a valid passport(s) from a Visa Waiver Program country.
- You must provide a valid email address.
- You must provide your home address and phone number.
- You must provide your emergency point of contact phone and email.
- You must pay the required fees. The fee for the ESTA application is $21.00 USD.
Valid payment methods include MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover (JCB or Diners Club only), and PayPal.
- You may also be required to provide your employer’s address and phone number, your National ID, and U.S. point of contact information.
If you have been previously denied a U.S. visa, your ESTA will be denied.
What kind of activities are permitted under the Visa Waiver Program?
The following are examples of permitted activities while in the United States on the Visa Waiver Program.
- consult with business associates
- attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
- attend short-term training (you may not be paid by any source in the United States with the exception of expenses incidental to your stay)
- negotiate a contract
- vacation (holiday)
- visit with friends or relatives
- medical treatment
- participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
- enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)
You cannot use the Visa Waiver Program to engage in any form of study that counts toward credits, employment, to work for the foreign press, radio, film, journalism, or other form of media, and you cannot use the Visa Waiver Program if your intention is to immigrate to the United States.
Congratulations to our Israeli friends and followers! We are excited for this addition. We are here for you if you have any questions about this announcement.
Contact us. Need our help? To schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
- Joint Statement on the Designation of Israel into the Visa Waiver Program
- Federal Register: Designation of Israel for the Visa Waiver Program
- Visa Waiver Program
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
- Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Application
- October Visa Bulletin
- Employment-Based Fourth Preference (EB-4) Announcement
- Adjustment of Status Filing Dates from Visa Bulletin
- USCIS Processing Times
- USCIS Announces End of COVID-Related Flexibilities
- Immigrant Visa Backlog Report
- DOS Visa Services Operating Status Update
- ImmigrationU Membership
- Success stories
- Youtube channel
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