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Visa Waiver Program FAQs
 

I forgot to hand in my green departure record (form I-94W) when I departed the United States.  Isn't that the U.S./Airline/other person's responsibility to ask me for it?  What should I do with it now?

It is the traveler’s responsibility to make sure the transportation carriers collect the applicant’s departure portion of the Form I-94W.  Failure to turn in the I-94W could cause serious problems next time the traveler attempts to enter the U.S.

Please mail your I-94 Departure Record directly to the following address:

ACS-INS SBU
P.O. Box 7125
London, KY 40742-7125
U.S.A.

Also, please keep a copy of what you send and take it with you next time when you enter the U.S.  For more information see the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

What else do I have to do when I depart from the United States?

Generally the U.S. does not have mandatory exit controls. However the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection is currently testing US-VISIT exit procedures at 12 major airports and 3 seaports. If you leave from one of these ports, you are required to confirm your departure. Your check out will include the scanning of your visa or passport and repeating the simple inkless fingerscanning process for first your left index finger and then your right index finger. A workstation attendant will be available if you need assistance. The exit confirmation will be added to your travel records to demonstrate compliance with the terms of your admission. Ultimately, most foreign visitors will be required to check out before leaving the United States.

What if I enter on the Visa Waiver Program and then decide I want to stay longer than the 90 days?

You cannot extend the time on the Visa Waiver Program. The 90 days also includes any time spent in Canada, Mexico and adjacent Islands. Therefore you cannot cross the border into these areas and then return for another 90 days. You can however ask for re-entry on the Visa Waiver Program if you have left the Continent.

Do Dutch citizens need 6 months validity on their passport?

No.  Dutch passports and many others are exempt from this rule. See the State Department's webpage on the VWP for the full list. 

However, admission into the United States will not be granted by the immigration authorities for a period extending beyond the actual expiration date shown in the passport.  You can only be admitted to stay a maximum of 90 days or until the expiration date on your passport, whichever comes first.  Moreover, stays under the VWP cannot be extended.  So, if you intend to stay less than 90 days, but beyond the expiration date in your passport, you should renew your passport before traveling instead.

How do I know if my passport is machine readable and biometric?

Dutch passports issued after August 2006 meet the requirements.  For other countries, you should consult the issuing authority in order to determine if your passport is machine readable and biometric. For more information, read more about machine readable passports.

Am I allowed to visit the United States after I've been to Cuba?

Entry (even with a valid visa) is determined by U.S. Immigration officials at the port of entry. You may wish to take supporting documents about the purpose of your trip.

I am only transiting Miami or New York for a few hours during my flight to another destination outside the U.S.; do I need a visa?

You can transit the U.S. visa-free on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) as long as your total stay in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands is less than 90 days, and you meet the other VWP requirements. You can use the VWP if, for instance, you are transiting the U.S. on a journey between St. Maarten and Europe, or are transiting Puerto Rico between the Dutch Caribbean and another country.

However, if, for example, you are transiting the U.S. on the way to a 6 month stay in Canada, you cannot use the VWP, as your total time in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the adjacent islands will be over 90 days. In this case you should apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa or a transit visa.

Can I visit Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands on the Visa Waiver Program?

Dutch citizens visiting or transiting Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands can enter visa-free on the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) as long as they meet all the requirements. To meet VWP requirements, the total stay in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands must be less than 90 days.

However, if for example, you are transiting on of these places on the way to a 6 month stay in Canada for a working holiday, you cannot use the VWP, as your total time in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the adjacent islands will be over 90 days. In this case you should apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa, or a transit visa.

The last time I tried to enter the U.S. on the VWP, I was denied entry or denied boarding.  Can the Consulate reinstate my VWP privileges?

The Visa Waiver Program is adminstered by the Department of Homeland Security, not the State Department.  Accordingly, consular officers and staff have no authority to hear complaints or overturn decisions.  Travelers no longer eligible under the VWP will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

Once I enter the U.S. under the VWP, can I apply for a longer stay or to adjust status to another category of visitor?

No.  A disadvantage of the VWP is that if you are admitted to the United States under the VWP, you may not change or extend your non-immigrant status.  If your admission is denied, you have no right to administrative or judicial review.  Likewise, if you are found to have violated the terms of your admission, you also forfeit the right to contest a removal order; therefore, before using the VWP, you should carefully consider your options.

What are the specific requirements for admission eligibility under the VWP?

To qualify for the VWP, you must:

  • Intend to enter the United States for 90 days or less;
  • Have a passport lawfully issued to you by a VWP country that is valid for six months beyond your intended visit;
  • Be a national of the VWP country that issued your passport;
  • Have been checked using an automated electronic database containing information about inadmissible aliens to the United States;
  • Have a return trip ticket to any foreign destination other than a territory bordering on the United States or an adjacent island unless:
    1. You are a resident of an adjacent island,
    2. This requirement is waived by the Attorney General under regulations, or
    3. You are a visitor for business who arrives aboard a private aircraft that maintains a valid agreement guaranteeing to transport you out of the United States, if you are found to be inadmissible or deportable;
  • Present to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer a completed and signed Form I-94W, Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Form;
  • Not pose a safety threat to the United States;
  • Not have failed to comply with the conditions of any previous admission under the Visa Waiver Program;
  • If arriving by air or sea, you must arrive aboard a carrier that signed an agreement, "signatory carrier", guaranteeing to transport you out of the United States if you are found to be inadmissible or deportable;
  • Convince the examining CBP officer that you are clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted and that you are not inadmissible under section 212 of the Act. For reasons that would make you inadmissible, please see the Immigration and Nationality Act at INA § 212 (a);
  • Waive any right to review or appeal a CBP officer's decision as to your admissibility, other than on the basis of an application for asylum or an application for withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and
  • Waive any right to challenge your removal, other than on the basis of an application for asylum or an application for withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Do citizens of Canada or Bermuda fall under the VWP?

No.  Holders of a Canadian or Bermudan passport have separate travel requirements from VWP participants, but similarly do not require a visa for most temporary visits.  See the State Department's information webpage for more information.

What are the signatory carriers for the VWP?

If arriving in the U.S. by air or sea, to meet the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you must arrive aboard a carrier, known as a signatory carrier, which has signed an agreement guaranteeing to transport you out of the United States if you are found to be inadmissible or deportable.  Please visit the State Department website to find a list of signatory carriers. (PDF 235 KB)

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