Today, the Department of State has formally nominated Poland for entry into the Visa Waiver Program. The Department of Homeland Security will now take the necessary action to assess Poland’s entry into the program. The Visa Waiver Program or ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is a program that allows citizens from certain countries (38 countries) to apply for admission to the U.S. using a simplified process.  The applicant can use a web interface to answer certain questions and can be granted ESTA online. This contrasts to other countries where the applicants must go to a U.S. Consulate and apply for a B1/B2 visa.

The benefit of ESTA is that it is fast, inexpensive and efficient.  The applicant can enter the U.S. quickly (does not have to wait for a visa appointment) and the validity period is 2 years. The down side is that applicants entering on Visa waiver can only stay in the U.S. for 90 days and they cannot change or adjust status.  For more information about ESTA and about the allowed activities while on ESTA, please click here. For more information about business activities allowed on a B-1 visa, please click here. Currently, there is no timeline of when Poland’s admission into the program will be completed.

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