On September 27, 2023, the United States Department of Homeland Security (US DHS) announced that Israel has been designated as a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), effective November 30, 2023. Israel is the 41st country to join the VWP. The VWP is a program that allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States without a visa, provided they meet certain requirements.
This means that Israeli citizens will be able to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without first obtaining a U.S. visa.
The VWP is a reciprocal program that allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for 90-days or less for business or pleasure without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa, provided that they are otherwise eligible for admission under statutory and regulatory requirements. In order to be eligible for the VWP, countries must meet certain requirements related to counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and border management. Israel has met all of these requirements, including the requirement to extend visa-free privileges to all U.S. citizens without regard to national origin, religion, or ethnicity.
The VWP will also benefit U.S. citizens, including Palestinian-Americans. Prior to Israel’s entry into the VWP, some Palestinian-Americans had been denied entry to Israel. However, Israel has now committed to allowing all U.S. citizens to enter the country visa-free, without regard to national origin, religion, or ethnicity.
The disadvantage for a foreign national entering without a visa pursuant to the VWP is that they cannot change their nonimmigrant status or extend their status in the U.S. They will need to depart and reenter the U.S. Some VWP entrants may be able to file to adjust their status to legal permanent residence (green card).
For the official statement released by the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, please visit: