Changes to the visa-free entry into the United States

Since January 21, 2016 new terms of the Visa Waiver Program apply. The changes to the VWP especially affect to people who have traveled in recent years to Syria, Iran, Sudan or Iraq.

The VWP program allows a visa free entry into the United States for citizens of the VWP countries. For the visa free entry there is only an ESTA-approval needed which can be requested online. However, on January 21, 2016 there have been some changes to the Visa Waiver Program. Travellers of the following categories must now apply for a visa and can no longer enter into the United States without a visa:
–    Citizens of VWP countries who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria.
–    Citizens of VWP countries who travelled to Syria, Iran, Sudan or Iraq since March 1, 2011.

In individual cases an exeption can be made, such as applicants who travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria due to military or journalistic reasons. However this will be decided on a case-by-case basis and has to be consistent with the law.

For citizens of VWP countries who currently have an ESTA approval it is highly recommended to check their ESTA status on the following website before travelling to the U.S.:

Further information can be found at the website of the US Embassy.

Source: US Embassy