Florida Life & Leisure Visa Page

The Visa Waiver Programme (VWP)

You may be able to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme. If you meet certain critria and are a Citizen from the countries listed below.

Andorra Australia Austria Belgium Brunei
Denmark Finland France Germany Iceland
Ireland Italy Japan Liechtenstein Luxembourg
Monaco Netherlands New Zealand Norway Portugal
San Marino Singapore Slovenia Spain Sweden
Switzerland UK      

Nationals of these countries must hold a Machine Readable Passport (MRP) or a Bio-Metric Passport (ePassport) in order to travel under the VWP. Holders of non-MRP passports must obtain a US visa prior to travelling to the US.

I-95W - Click Images for a larger View

I-95W I-95W

The Visa Waiver Program:

Any person wishing to travel to the USA must have one of the following.

  • An ePassport if it was issued after 26th October 2006 or a Machine Readable Passport, if your passport was issued after 26th October 2005 it must contain a digital photgraph

  • .......And

  • A completed Visa Waiver Form (I-95W) Obtained from the Airport/Check-in/Travel Agent.


  • A Valid Passport

    .... And

  • A valid Visa that must be obtained prior to travel from the US authorites i.e US Embassy. How to obtain a visa?

Please Note: That if your child is travelling on the Visa Waiver Program then they must have their own Machine Readable Passport.

Other requirements if travelling on the VWP are:

  • You must be travelling for Business, Pleasure or in Transit. Also....
  • Be in possesion of a valid, confirmed return or onward ticket (eTicket receipt). Also....
  • Staying in the US for less than 90 days. Also....
  • Present a completed I-94W form to the authorities on arrival in the US. (These forms can normally be obtained from your travel agent, at check in or on-board the aircraft.)

Please note that you should also ensure you have the Address and zip code for the place you are staying in order to complete the I-94W form when you land.

See more about providing Advanced Pasenger Information (API) before you leave your Country.

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) *NEW*

ESTA is short for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. ESTA is an application system for all travelers from Visa Waiver Countries only. The Visa Waiver Program has made visiting the United States very easy for millions of visitors with a machine readable passport. Now the same visitors must apply for a Travel Authorization in advance in addition to have a machine readable passport. The application process is online and run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The purpose of ESTA is to let DHS pre-screen all Visa Waiver Travelers before they leave their respective countries. US bound travelers are recommended to apply for the Travel Authorization at least 72 hours prior to departure. The Travel Authorization is not a visa. In fact, a person from a non-visa waiver country should not even attempt to apply for a Travel Authorization. All ESTA does is to pre-screen a Visa Waiver Traveler and allow him or her to travel to the United States and apply for admission. An approved Travel Authorization is not a guaranteed entry, but a prerequisite to travel to the United States by air or sea carrier.
Advantages of applying for a Travel Authorization: * Know that you are approved to travel to the United States * Know that your personal data is cross checked against a number of U.S. official databases but without any findings * The Travel Authorization is valid for two years and can easily be updated * DHS may charge a fee for this service later, but it is currently free to apply.


Passports with digital photographs:

A lot of new passports contain a digital photograph which is printed on to the details page. Older passports have a photograph which is glued or laminated on to the passport. Passports issued after the 26 October 2005 to passengers wishing to use the Visa Waiver Programme must contain a digitally printed photograph. A photograph which is glued or laminated will not be acceptable for travel. Passports issued before the 26 October 2005 are exempt from this requirement.

Machine readable Passport (MRP)

Machine Readable Passport

A MRP has the holder's personal details, i.e.. name, date of birth, nationality and their passport number contained in two lines of text at the bottom of the photo page. This text may be read by machine at immigration. Below is an example of what a MRP looks like.

Machine Readable Passport

Bio-Metric Passports
from 26th October 2006. (ePassports)

From 26 October 2006 you must have an e-passport to travel to the US on the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) if your passport is issued on or after 26 October 2006. An e-passport contains an integrated computer chip that is capable of storing information from the bio data page. e-passports are easily identified as they all have a symbol on the front cover to indicate that the document contains an integrated chip.

Obtaining A Visa:

A visa can be obtained by vivting the US Embassy in thier home country. This has to be done by appontment only and consists of an interview. Bear in mind that the proccessing of a Visa can be quite lengthy and can take a number of weeks.
More information can be found at their website US Embassy (UK)

Advanced Passenger Information:

The governments of various countries require Airlines to collect Advance Passenger Information (API) for passengers prior to travel. Some Airlines alllow you to submit this online through your booking. For the US the requirements are:

Passport information, including:

  • passport number
  • country which issued passport
  • passport expiry date
  • given names (as they appear on the passport)
  • last name
  • gender
  • date of birth
  • nationality
  • the Alien Registration Number (Green Card) is also required for those who have US residency.

In addition, the following information is required for passengers travelling to the USA from the UK:

  • country of residence
  • destination address in the US for all passengers except US Citizens or residents.

The US-Visit Programme: From the Homeland Security Website

In many cases, US-VISIT begins overseas, at the U.S. consular offices issuing visas, where visitors’ biometrics (digital fingerscans and photographs) are collected and checked against a database of known criminals and suspected terrorists. When the visitor arrives at the port of entry, we use the same biometrics – digital fingerscans – to verify the person at our port is the same person who received the visa.

Once at the port of entry you will find that many of the procedures remain unchanged and are familiar to you. For example, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer still reviews your travel documents, such as a visa and passport. The officer still asks you questions about your stay in the U.S. What’s new under US-VISIT is that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer now uses the inkless, digital fingerscanner to capture two of your fingerscans. You first place your left index finger and then your right index finger on the scanner. The officer also takes your digital photograph. These procedures add only seconds to the overall processing time. Beginning November 29, 2007, Homeland Security will replace the two-fingerprint scanners with new 10-fingerprint scanners, starting with Washington Dulles International Airport.

For more information visit Homeland Security.


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