Israel to Join US ESTA Visa Waiver Program
Israel has been designated a participating nation in the United States’ Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
In a joint statement issued by the released by the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security on September 27, 2023, it has been confirmed that by November 30, 2023, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) will be updated to allow citizens and nationals of Israel to apply to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without first obtaining a US visa.
As a reciprocal agreement, Israel’s travel policies are also being updated to allow all US citizens to request entry to Israel for up to 90 days for business, tourism, or transit without obtaining a visa.
Under the VWP, foreign nationals of certain countries are allowed to visit the US without a visa where they have been granted permission through online pre-screening. By joining the VWP, Israeli nationals would not in most cases need a visa to visit the US, but instead would only need to pass the online pre-screening test to be granted ESTA authorization.
Under current US rules, Israeli nationals have to apply for a visa before they can travel to the US, even if the trip is a short-term visit. The application process can take several months, with the applicant having to submit a petition, attend a visa interview and wait for their stamped passport to be returned.
US immigration advice
We continue to monitor developments in US immigration policy and procedures. If you have any queries or concerns about system changes, and the impact on your US immigration options and status, speak to our US immigration specialists.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.