The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) was created by the U.S. Congress in 1986. The goal of the program was to enable a greater number of short-term tourist and business travelers as well as reduce the burden of local U.S. State Department resources in processing tourist visa applications. Over the years, the program has evolved to include more member countries as well as include more travel restrictions. This page provides information on the VWP criteria for admitting new member nations, membership history, future membership outlook as well as provide an overview of the ESTA, the electronic travel authorization which allows a VWP country's citizens to visit the U.S. without a visa.
|Country or Countries||Date Admitted to VWP|
|, United Kingdom Japan||1988|
|, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland West Germany (later Germany in 1990)||1989|
|, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino Spain||1991|
|, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia South Korea||2008|
|Country||Date admitted to VWP||Date removed from VWP|
|, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Israel, Romania, Turkey Uruguay|
Citizens of VWP countries will need an approved ESTA, or Electronic System for Travel Authorization to visit the United States for short term tourism, business, transit, or medical purposes. ESTA was created in 2008 and its purpose was to electronically process travel authorization applications online for citizens of VWP countries. By submitting an online application, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can pre-screen travelers against terrorist and no-fly lists whilst an application is still active in the system. Travelers will need to meet all the necessary ESTA requirements in order to ensure their application will be approved.
For more information on ESTA applicant requirements, visit the following page: ESTA Requirements
 "Visa Waiver Program". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2017-05-16. https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html
 "TRAVEL ADVISORY; Accord Allows Trips to Japan Without a Visa". The New York Times. 30 October 1988. Retrieved 2017-05-16. https://www.nytimes.com/1988/10/30/travel/travel-advisory-accord-allows-trips-to-japan-without-a-visa.html
 "United States General Accounting Office: Implications of Eliminating the Visa Waiver Program" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-05-16. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0338.pdf
 "Visa Waiver Program". Americanlaw.com. Retrieved 2017-05-16. http://www.americanlaw.com/vwpp.html