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How tourist, business travel to the U.S. is streamlined via the VWP - III

In today's post, we'll conclude our discussion of the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of 38 designated nations to travel to the U.S. for business purposes or tourism for a maximum of 90 days without obtaining a visitor (B) visa in advance.

Specifically, we'll finish our discussion of the requirements that prospective tourists or business travelers must satisfy in order to utilize the VMP.

Visa ineligibility and prior compliance with U.S. immigration law

In order to travel to the U.S. via the VMP, a person must have a sterling record of compliance with our nation's immigration laws. Indeed, those who have previously visited the U.S. -- whether while in possession of a visa or through the VMP -- must have complied with all conditions of their admission.

Any failure to have done this or any prior finding that a person was ineligible for a U.S. visa will result in automatic disqualification from the VMP.

Possession of a valid passport

While possession of a valid visa is not required under the VMP, this doesn’t mean that those traveling to the U.S. under the program are somehow exempt from possessing any type of documentation.

Anyone traveling to the U.S. via the VMP -- including infants and children -- must be in possession of a passport that will be valid for a minimum of six months after their planned exit from U.S. soil. In addition, the passport itself must comply with certain standards set forth by the Department of State concerning machine-readability.

Extension of stays

On a final note, those admitted to the U.S. under the VMP must be aware that that they cannot extend their stay, meaning they must depart the country either before or on the date indicated in their admission stamp.

Given the complexity of the VMP and the general process of securing a visa, those with questions or concerns should strongly consider speaking with a skilled legal professional.

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