Even if you are familiar with how to obtain a US Visa waiver, did you know that US waivers expire? Do you know what your rights and responsibilities are once your waiver runs out? This feature article will help you answer those questions so you can be sure you stay on the right side of the law when traveling in and out of the United States.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program of the United States Government which allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.
A visa enabling travel and access to the U.S is essential for most foreign nationals planning and trip and hoping to enter the United States. It does not matter whether the trip be for business purposes or for leisure such as vacation, the visa is still required.
The visa is usually required in addition to standard travel documentation such as passports. Unlike your passport the visa is normally for a much shorter duration and will need to be renewed more frequently
Traveling to the United States With a US Visa Waiver
Citizens of many countries are required to apply for what is known as an ESTA. This grants permission for international travelers to enter the United States for a up to 90 days. Permission is granted for two years. After which it is necessary to reapply.
What Happens When Your US Visa Waiver Expires?
Generally, travel waivers will be issued with a validity period of between one and five years, which depends on several factors including the particulars of your conviction. Most waivers will be valid for a year from the date of issue, however. If you need an additional travel waiver, you will of course have to reapply for one.
Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to getting subsequent travel waivers. You’ll have to go through much the same process you went through to obtain your initial waiver. This may seem unnecessary, but it is the standard protocol of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the body who decides who may and may not enter the country.
US Visa Waiver Renewals
There are, however, a few notable differences for a subsequent waiver application. The biggest difference is that usually your subsequent waiver will have a longer validity period than the initial one. This is great for several reasons:
You don’t have to go through the reapplication process every year, which saves time and headaches
You also don’t have to worry about paying the application fee every year, which can significantly add to your travel costs
Finally, if you can provide supporting documents from your previous waiver, the process will usually go more quickly because the government will have evidence that they had considered you for a waiver in the past.
Expediting US Visa Waiver With Third Parties
This process is usually expedited even more when you enlist the services of a company that specializes in helping people fill out their waiver application because it is their job to focus on getting your application done and they have the resources to do so in a timely way.
You will once again have to provide that you are a law-abiding citizen and are therefore not a threat to the security of the United States, regardless of your previous conviction ( if you have one ). If you want to go even further with proving that you have changed your ways, you can apply for a pardon in advance of applying (or reapplying) for a travel waiver, but it’s important to understand that even if you do receive a pardon, you still cannot legally travel to the United States without a waiver.
One document does not replace the other. However, a pardon is a point in your favour because it shows that you are committed to being reformed and getting a new lease on life.
When you receive a travel waiver, take note of the expiry date so that you can start the renewal process as soon as possible to avoid any potential lags in between the expiry of your previous waiver and the arrival of your new one. Using the help of a waiver agency can be of great assistance in helping you know when is the appropriate time to apply as well.