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Israeli Citizens Will Soon Be Eligible for U.S. Visa Waiver Program

27 Sep

On September 27, 2023, the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a joint announcement designating Israel as a U.S. Visa Waiver Program country. This designation will allow Israeli citizens and nationals to apply for admission to the United States of up to 90 days under the Visa Waiver Program for permissible tourist, business visitor, or transit activities without first obtaining a B-1/B-2 visitor visa. According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “[t]his important achievement will enhance freedom of movement for U.S. citizens, including those living in the Palestinian Territories or traveling to and from them.” 

By November 30, 2023, citizens and nationals of Israel will be able to submit applications through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which is an automated system that assists in determining eligibility to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and in determining whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk. An ESTA approval is required for all eligible citizens and nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries prior to traveling to the United States without a U.S. visa. Upon completion of an ESTA application, the traveler is notified of their eligibility to travel to the United States under the program, and these authorizations are valid for two years. Visa Waiver travelers should carry a copy of their ESTA authorization printout along with their valid passport. Applicants may submit their applications via the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website at CBP recommends submitting ESTA applications at least 72 hours in advance of international travel. 


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