June 5th, 2013 by Romona Paden
Chile’s president Sebastian Piñera said Monday that Chile’s addition to the Visa Waiver Program could happen soon.
The Visa Waiver Program allows people from certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a U.S. visa for a period of 90 days. Travelers still have to be approved through ESTA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which determines a person’s eligibility.
The Visa Waiver Program currently includes the following 37 countries: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
Visa Waiver Program Eligibility
This is how a country becomes and remains eligible for the visa waiver program:
- The country also gives U.S. travelers the right to travel to that country for 90 days without a visa.
- The country has a low rate of denied nonimmigrant U.S. visa applications
- The country has a low rate of people who travel to the U.S. and are denied admission, withdraw their applications, and/or break the laws of the visa waiver program.
- The country has machine-readable passports that are up to standard with what is internationally accepted.
- The country is able to add biometric information to passports that is up to International Civil Aviation Organization standards.
- The country quickly reports passport theft to the U.S. Government
Chile would become the only country from Latin America in the Visa Waiver Program.
Chile’s economy has been growing fast in the last few decades. In addition, Chile has recently signed pacts to take part in fighting terrorism and organized crime. Both of these help Chile’s chances for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will visit Chile and make sure that the country is in fact meeting all the requirements.
Each year, more than 200,000 people from Chile visit the U.S.