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Poland Joins Visa Waiver Program Effective November 11, 2019

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Great news for Polish nationals. Effective November 11, 2019, Polish nationals may travel to the United without a visa, using only their Polish passports and an approved ESTA.

Back on October 31st the Department of Homeland Security designated Poland as a country eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule making the designation official.

Poland joins thirty-eight countries currently participating in the Visa Waiver Program.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

Citizens or nationals of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program may travel to the United States for tourism or business without having to apply for a tourist visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. Participants are eligible to remain in the United States for a temporary period of 90 days or less.

In order to travel without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program, citizens must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S. bound air or sea carrier. ESTA is an online system that is used to determine eligibility to travel under the VWP to the United States for tourism or business.

How long is an ESTA valid for?

Once approved, the ESTA is valid for a period of two years. You must obtain a new ESTA if you receive a new passport, change your name, change your gender, change your country of citizenship, or your responses to “yes” or “no” questions on the ESTA application must be updated.

What are the Requirements?

Travelers must have a valid machine-readable passport issued by the participating country and be a citizen or national (not only a resident) of that country.

Generally, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your planned departure from the United States,

Children (even infants) need their own, individual machine-readable passport in order to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Past Visa Denials

A past or recent visa refusal for any reason may result in denial of ESTA authorization, additional review at the port of entry, or denial of admission to the United States. If you have been denied or refused a visa in the past, you may apply for a tourist visa to enter the United States.

What visitors under the VWP cannot do

Visitors applying for entry under the visa waiver program are allowed to remain in the United States for a period of ninety (90) days for tourism or business.

This 90-day period cannot be extended. VWP visitors cannot change their status while in the United States.

Travelers entering initially under the visa waiver program may make side trips to countries adjacent to the United States (including the Caribbean islands) and reenter the United States by any means of transport, provided that the total stay in the region is no longer than 90 days.

Visitors for business or tourism cannot work or study in the United States.

If you wish to do either of these things you must apply for a work or student visa. We can help. Contact our office for a consultation.