• Greece Added to List of Visa Waiver Eligible Countries
  • March 26, 2010 | Authors: David Grunblatt; Valarie H. McPherson; Jennifer B. Wexler
  • Law Firms: Proskauer Rose LLP - New York Office ; Proskauer Rose LLP - Newark Office ; Proskauer Rose LLP - New York Office ; Proskauer Rose LLP - Newark Office ; Proskauer Rose LLP - New York Office
  • On March 9, 2010, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the designation of Greece as a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The designation will allow Greek nationals to travel to the U.S. without visas for up to 90 days, starting next month.  The VWP designation process requires that Greece comply with key security and information-sharing requirements with the U.S., including the timely reporting of lost and stolen passports, and the maintenance of high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards.

    As of this announcement, 36 nations participate in the VWP.  They are:

    Andorra

    Denmark

    Hungary

    Liechtenstein

    Norway

    Slovenia

    Austria

    Estonia

    Iceland

    Lithuania

    Portugal

    Spain

    Austria

    Finland

    Ireland

    Luxembourg

    Republic of Malta

    South Korea

    Belgium

    France

    Italy

    Monaco

    San Marino

    Sweden

    Brunei

    Greece

    Japan

    Netherlands

    Singapore

    Switzerland

    Czech Republic

    Germany

    Latvia

    New Zealand

    Slovakia

    United Kingdom

    Citizens of the above designated countries are eligible to apply for admission under the VWP if they: intend to enter the U.S. for 90 days or fewer for business, pleasure or transit; arrive via a VWP signatory carrier; have a return or onward ticket; and their travel does not terminate in a contiguous territory or an adjacent island (unless the traveler is a resident of one of those areas).  In addition, VWP travelers must receive an electronic travel authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S.-bound airplane or cruise ship.  An ESTA application may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the U.S.  Although many authorizations are granted immediately, some applications require additional processing that takes up to 72 hours to complete.  Therefore, we recommend that the ESTA application be made at least three days before travel commences.  Once approved, it will be valid for multiple entries up to two years, or until the foreign traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first.  For more information on both the Visa Waiver Program and the ESTA requirement, please see http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without&under;1990.html.