Visa Waiver

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Are you planning on traveling to the USA on the USA Visa Waiver Program? Don’t forget about medical insurance!

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens from thirty-six countries to travel to the U.S. for business or pleasure without obtaining a visa. The purpose of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program is to get rid of unnecessary hurdles to travel, boost the tourism industry, and permit the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. While traveling under the VWP, you may only stay in the US for 90 days or less. If you wish to stay longer, you must file for one of the other visas. There are also other qualifications for traveling under the Visa Waiver Program. Qualifications include:

Visa Waiver Qualifications

  • You must have a machine-readable passport.
  • You must have a valid passport
  • You must intend to visit the U.S. for 90 days or less for business, pleasure, or transit
  • You must use an approved Visa Waiver Program transportation carrier
  • You need a return ticket

A full list of requirements to participate in the Visa Wavier Program can be found on the Department of Homeland Security's website.

According to the U.S. Department of State, you may participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver program if you are from one of the following European countries:

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,
Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,
Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Spain, France,
Sweden, Germany, Monaco, Greece, Switzerland, The Netherlands,
United Kingdom, San Marino, Czech Republic and Malta

If you are from one of the following countries in Asia, you may participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program: Brunei, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea

If you are from one of the following Oceanic countries, you may participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program: Australia, New Zealand

When you come to the U.S, it is important to have access to medical care and insurance that covers you for emergencies. While you are participating in the USA Visa Waiver Program, you will want to consider insurance for any medical emergency that could happen while you are in the U.S. HCCMIS offers Atlas America® insurance for those looking for insurance. Atlas America covers eligible sicknesses and injuries while you are traveling from your home country and while you are in the U.S. for up to 12 months. Atlas America can be a valuable addition to your planning to come to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program.

With Atlas America, you get access to a whole network of doctors and hospitals in locations across the country willing to help you in the event of a medical emergency. Atlas America also connects you with the World Service Center, a team of customer service professionals trained to assist in English, Spanish, and many other languages in the event of a sickness, accident, or a medical emergency.

Steps for Visa Waiver Program

For those coming to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program, there are certain steps that should be completed.

1. Authorization: You must receive authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. The ESTA is an automated system that verifies the eligibility of visitors to travel to the U.S. To apply for authorization to travel, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website.

2. Appropriate Passport: Your passport must be valid for six months after your expected stay in the US. This passport rule is for all categories of passports, including: regular, diplomatic, and official.

3. Length of Stay: You must be able to prove that your stay in the U.S., whether for business or pleasure, will not exceed 90 days.

4. Traveling on Approved Carrier: The Department of State provides an approved list of carriers for travel under the VWP. Your trip to the U.S. must be arranged through one of these carriers. Additionally, all VWP visitors are required to hold a return ticket with a date of travel within 90 days of original entry.

5. Sufficient Funds: You must also be able to prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself while you are in the U.S.

Should I Apply for a Visa or Participate in the Visa Waiver Program?

Under certain circumstances, even if you are from a qualifying country, you may need to apply for a visa instead of coming to the USA on the Visa Waiver Program.

When to Apply for a Visa

  • You want to stay in the U.S. for longer than 90 days, or you want to work or become a student in the United States.
  • You want to travel as a working foreign media representative, or you intend to immigrate to the United States.
  • You are a national of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Republic of Korea, or the Slovak Republic and you do not have an electronic passport with an integrated chip. To find out if you do have a qualifying passport, check out the Department of State’s website.
  • You are traveling by private aircraft or other non-VWP approved carriers to the United States.
  • You have a criminal record or other condition making you ineligible.
  • You have been refused admission to the United States before, or you did not comply with the conditions of previous Visa Waiver Program admissions.
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Tokio Marine HCC - Medical Insurance Services Group (MIS Group) is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by Tokio Marine HCC – International Group.