DHS Announces Greece as Member of Visa Waiver Program

March 10th, 2010

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that Greece is now a member of the Visa Waiver Program.  The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) was established as a pilot program in 1986 to eliminate unnecessary barriers to travel to the US.  In October 2000 it became a permanent feature of US immigration law and now more than 35 countries are members.  The key advantage to VWP is that citizens of member countries do not need to secure a visa to the US so long as they are coming to visit for no more than 90 days.  However, they will need to obtain Elecronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA) through a web-based system.  Member countries of the VWP must satisfy stringent security requirements, such as security-related data sharing between the member and the US, timely reporting of lost or stolen passports and the maintenance of high counter terrorism, law enforcement and border control standards.

Interim Rule on Pre-Authorization for VWP Travelers

June 6th, 2008

On June 3, 2008, DHS announced an interim final rule on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a new online system for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).  When it takes effect later this year, all nationals of VWP (visa waiver) countries who wish to enter the US under the VWP will need to receive electronic travel authorization prior to departure.