The U.S. government recently expanded the Visa Waiver Program to include the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Republic of Korea and the Slovak Republic. Soon (but not yet) citizens of these countries will be able to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa.
The United States must still complete certain internal steps required by statute before it can complete VWP expansion.
Nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Republic of Korea and the Slovak Republic continue to require visas to travel to the United States during that period.
Nationals of these countries are expected to be able to travel without obtaining a visa beginning in mid- November 2008 AS LONG AS they have a biometric passport and register on-line through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces implementation of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which began to accept voluntary ESTA applications starting on August 1, 2008. ESTA is a new fully automated, electronic system for screening passengers before they begin travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States, and VWP travelers are encouraged to apply for authorization as soon as they begin to plan a trip to the United States. It is anticipated that ESTA will become mandatory for VWP travelers from current VWP member countries on January 12, 2009 and for VWP travelers from newly admitted VWP countries in mid-November 2008. Learn more about ESTA on the DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.