Today in Washington, D.C., U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, announced Chile’s designation to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Chile is now one of 38 participants in the program.
Secretary Johnson made the announcement accompanied by Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, Chile’s Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno, and Chile’s Ambassador to the United States Felipe Bulnes.
“This announcement furthers our important partnership with Chile and will benefit the security and the economies of both our nations,” said Secretary Johnson. “The addition of Chile to the Visa Waiver Program will enable us to work together to maintain the highest standards of security, while also facilitating travel for Chileans visiting the United States.”
In Fiscal Year 2013, approximately 242,000 visitors from Chile traveled to the United States, nearly 90 percent of them for tourism or business purposes.Beginning on May 1, 2014, Chilean citizens in possession of an e-passport will be able to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes, for stays of 90 days or less, under the VWP.
Important Requirements for VWP Travelers
Chilean nationals who travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program should be aware that the program only enables them to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor “B” visa purposes) for stays of 90 days or less. Chileans traveling for other purposes, such as academic study or to work, are still required to apply for the appropriate visa.
Like other VWP travelers, Chilean nationals will be required to apply for advanced authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security web-based system. ESTA requires that VWP travelers apply on-line and receive a valid ESTA approval before boarding an air or sea carrier to travel to the United States under the VWP.
Only those Chilean nationals in possession of a valid e-passport (i.e., passports with an integrated chip containing the information from the data page e-passport), available in Chile since September 2, 2013, are allowed to travel under the VWP.