DHS Announces Greece as Member of Visa Waiver Program

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.