Foreign Visa

The Benefits of the Visa Waiver Program

The Benefits of the Visa Waiver Program

 

The Visa Waiver Program is a program enacted by the United States to remove barriers and facilitate the travel to the United States. It was designed to increase tourism business visa

Specific Benefits of the Visa Waiver Program:

The prime benefit of using the Visa Waiver Program if your country qualifies for it is skipping the visa application process if you plan on only visiting a country for a period of 90 days or less. The Visa Waiver Program grants access for one to enter into the United States without the hassle of filling out piles of paperwork to receive a visa. While the United States still performs a background check for each individual entering the United States, the benefit of not applying for a visa lifts many of the barriers that have hindered travel to the United States before 1986; such as being denied a visa for various reasons.

One travel reason that the Visa Waiver Program was aimed at was for business travel. Business trips to the United States are now much easier to set up and members from other countries can conduct business on an international scale with a new level of ease. In the grand scheme of things, the Visa Waiver Program has facilitated the spread of international business and trade and has allowed businesses a greater ability to grow, spread ideas, and conduct business deals.

Tourism is also another target for the Visa Waiver Program. The tourism industry, as a result of the Visa Waiver Program, has seen a rapid increase due to the lifted guidelines for visiting the United States. The doors for people living in eligible countries who were hesitant to travel or who were never approved for a visa are now open. Essentially, the economic effects for the Visa Waiver Program are one major reason to have it enacted and expanded in the future.

Another hidden but meaningful benefit of the Visa Waiver Program is the easier spread of ideas between the United States and other countries. On a long enough timeline, as people do more traveling, the spread of ideas becomes more widespread throughout the world. There are always new ideas that a traveler may leave behind in the United States or bring back with them to their own country. The spread of information is a valuable thing that many other countries are hoping to enjoy as the Visa Waiver Program continues to expand.

A Brief History of the Visa Waiver Program

A Brief History of the Visa Waiver Program

 

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program that was enacted by the United States Government in 1986, which allows citizens traveling from certain countries to visit the United States for up to 90 days without the need to apply for a visa. The Visa Waiver Program applies to all states within the U.S., and includes U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In order for a country to be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, the country must be considered a developed country, have a high-income economy, and have a high Human Development Index, a system of measurement enacted to determine how developed a country is.

The Visa Waiver Program was enacted to facilitate normal travel between developed countries in the United States for tourism and business reasons. This allowed the United States Department of State to focus their resources on greater threats to national security.

In 2006, President Bush outlined a new electronic system called the Electronic Travel Authorization. This allowed visitors using the Visa Waiver Program to receive advance travel information electronically for traveling to the U.S. They would also receive an authorization electronically to travel to the U.S.

In 2008, the United States added several other countries to the list of countries accepted in the Visa Waiver Program. These countries included Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea. Later that year, Malta was also granted membership in the program. Furthermore, Croatia is expected to enter the Visa Waiver Program by 2011 and Greece has been in talks about entering the program sometime in the near future.

Changing the Eligibility Guidelines:

After the expansion of the European Union in 2004, many officials of the EU began to call for more countries to be included in the Visa Waiver Program. The United States, as a result, considered changing the guidelines by which eligibility of a country to be included is determined. They thought about doing this by adding political criteria, that would in turn, override any other criteria that does not meet the original guidelines.

Soon, Poland was admitted into the program with a new revision to the criteria. In 2006, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 was passed, leading to further Visa Waiver expansion. The new criteria for this was aimed at the EU for countries that provided "material support" to forces in Iraq and Afghanistan from many different countries.

Unfortunately, this only met criteria for Poland, which was already admitted, and Romania. President Bush eventually pledged his intention of expanding the program to further countries that help with global counter-terrorism efforts. This expanded the program by 32 countries.

So far, two countries have been dropped from the Visa Waiver Program, including Argentina and Uruguay because of the DHS-led reevaluations that are required to renew membership in the program.

Visas to Mexico

Visas to Mexico

In the minds of most Americans, the association between the words “Mexico” and “immigration” is likely to conjure up images of illegal immigrationimmigration lawborderWhile America should by no means unconditionally exonerate its neighbor to the south of its role to help guard against population flux between the two nations and improve its (Mexico’s) financial status, it can help to carry the load and honor those who have entered the country on legal terms via an international visa.
Though illegal immigration is the primary concern of many, Mexicans and Canadians alike do immigrate to the United States by legal means, often as a stipulation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. As for relocation of American nationals onto Mexican soil, essentially the reverse of the previous situation, this much does frequently occur.
In the way a visa is often needed by someone coming to America from Mexico, visa documentation is also a requirement for those American nationals temporarily staying in Mexico. Visa services and fees may be rendered for a number of different travel purposes across our southern border. Important details in the quest to obtain an international visa to Mexico include:
1. Tourist cards – If you stay within the Border Zone, a stretch of some 10 miles extending into Mexico, and/or spend no more than a day or weekend in Mexico, visa services will not have to be rendered. As is the case with travel between the United States and other countries, sometimes an international visa is not necessary, and a valid passport will be sufficient. If the terms of distance or time spent are to exceed the prescribed terms of the Mexican government, on the other hand, a Tourist Card or Tourist Migration Form will need to be filled out and paid for. This will ensure you six more months of travel to and from the United States and functions as a multiple-entry international visa.
2. Special requirements for residence/work visa
3. Special requirements for a student visa

Visas to the United Kingdom

Visas to the United Kingdom

If someone is just starting to grasp the concept of international visas, one might first assume that all visas are alike, as there are so many different countries in the world and yet similar processes throughout. However, just because two countries both refer to a certification of the ability to travel as a visa, and in the English language in both cases to boot, this does not mean that the application processes to enter the two countries are exactly alike. As you might have guessed, this can refer to the divide between obtaining a visa to the United States of America and a visa to the United Kingdom, also known as a UK visa or British visa.
To be fair, a lot of the elements of the UK visa application process will be familiar to the individual who seeks or has previously sought an American visa, namely requirements for fees, medical tests and processing biometrics information. At the same time, though, the British visa system has its idiosyncrasies, especially in its formation of a tiered system. Some important things to know about the UK visa and what may help to distinguish it:
1. Terms of travel – The UK Border Agency governs the enforcement of the United Kingdom’s borders and, on an obviously related note, immigration into the confines of the territory; it is to the union of the British Isles as the Department of Homeland Security is to the United States. The UK Border Agency breaks down fairly succinctly which purposes of travel require a British visa and which do not.
In most cases, visas are not needed for short-term travel or transit through the United Kingdom, but are quite necessary for living, studying, and working in the UK, as well as joining a relative. Things get decidedly more murky when the travel period as petitioned by the traveler prior to relocation exceeds a year or more. The terms of your UK visa may get changed without your express consent, or worse, you could be denied a grant altogether.
2. Points-based system for employees – What will probably stand out most to American applicants for a British visa is the points-based system that accompanies a good number of classifications of status. The points-based system, it should be emphasized, does not apply to all visas, namely those used for the purpose of visiting the United Kingdom.
Regarding a UK visa for employment, though, there is actually a system of five tiers that categorizes a different class of labor; they are, in order, highly skilled workers, skilled workers, low-skill shortage workers, students and temporary workers as part of the Youth Mobility Scheme. To qualify for a British visa under one of the tiers, then, an objective metric of “points” or requirements must be taken into consideration for the individual.
3. A or B status for employers – While a UK visa applicant must exceed a certain threshold of points to be well-ranked under British immigration policy, employers who offer visas are themselves ranked in the United Kingdom. These terms of status are made public, and as such, can be of good use to the person making an informed decision. While an A status for a foreign employer is acceptable, B status is considered transitional and is thus a sign of danger to the employer that he or she could lose the ability to be a sponsor.

Visas to Australia

Visas to Australia

Australia is one of a handful of English-speaking countries of which its residents not only seem to have a propensity for travel, but in fact, are even encouraged by their government to do so. A great example of this is the working holiday visa program, in which young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 may have the opportunity to travel and work under a mission of cultural exchange, contingent on a working relationship between those individuals’ countries of origin and a second country that has consented to such a fraternal relationship. Like Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Australia maintains working holiday binaries with a number of countries, and as such, the Australian presence can be felt worldwide.
As much as Australia sends its citizens beyond its borders, though, it just as easily accepts them. Like most nations, Australia encourages tourism, and with so many different geographical wonders and cultural enclaves enmeshed in the landscape, the continent surely has the amenities to solicit itself to the world’s patrons.
Given the fact it is on a completely different hemisphere than that of Australia, the United States of America is not immune to the charms of “the Land Down Under”; especially for those who suffer cold winters, the opportunity to travel to much warmer conditions is an opportunity that they will want to have in their back pocket. As a result, an Australian visa is one of the most sought after forms of documentation in American travel.
While vacation is certain a most popular justification for traveling between the United States and Australia, visa status may be petitioned for for a number of reasons. Below is a partial list of possible ways to get an Australian visa that coincides with ways in which the Australian visa is distinct from others, notably that of American immigration law:
1. Terminology – Between American English and British English, there are subtle differences not only in the way words are enunciated, but how they are perceived. A “holiday” in the American sense is definitely not the same thing as a “holiday” as interpreted in the United Kingdom or Australia. Visa application between the U.S. and Australia, similarly, is perhaps more easily understood through Australian terms.
The Department of Citizenship and Immigration groups the travel of family members and residents returning to the country under the “migrant” Australian visa. In addition, for some workers coming to Australia, visa documentation under the “migrant” banner is visible in the General Skilled Migration program. In this way, migrant is being used with greater specificity than normal international producers might.
2. Refugee status – In the United states, a grant of asylum or refugee status does not involve the acquisition of some special variety of refugee visa, to show mercy to those in immediately danger. Meanwhile, in Australia, visa routes are available for the refugee. Prior to a grant of permanent residency
3. The working holiday visa program – As mentioned, members of some countries (restricted by age and financial viability, among other things) that have entered into friendly agreements with foreign governments may apply for an Australian visa through the working holiday visa. program. For Americans looking to travel under these terms, any special considerations should be reviewed by a consular official working on behalf of the Department of State in Australia. Visa documentation of this sort is more readily available for Australians, as more agreement countries are available for their consideration.

Visas to Canada

Visas to Canada

Given the wide variety of reasons that are usually available to foreign applicants for their transportation into another jurisdiction and even past precedent for American migration into neighboring territories, it might be assumed that visiting Canada from the United States is an automatic process, requiring approval by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at customs that no dangerous materials are on board and nothing more. Some may still believe that a U.S. passportis not even necessary, let alone a Canadian visa.
After all, concerning a visitor visa to the United Kingdom, the need for such documentation may be waived for short-term stays in the nation’s boundaries by American citizens and nationals. By this example of eliminating a visa, Canada might be logically construed to bypass visa restrictions for residents of its neighbor to the south in all instances. Going back to the idea of the breadth of visas, though, to be certain, not all Americans (or residents of other countries) may be looking for a few days or weeks on Canadian soil.
Instead, especially if looking for work, a foreign applicant may have to seek a Canadian visa. As the United States has dignified the Department of State as the official entity for the processing of each visa, Canada does have its own bureau to handle immigration issues, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, or CIC. 
Like most countries that will issue you a visa, Canada has restrictions that will vary based on the purpose of your temporary or extended stay in the nation. Going back to the United States/Canada binary, as an American travel visa is generally not needed for Canadian nationals, a Canadian visa is not needed for travel, at the least for the term of stay specified on your visa’s arrival/departure record. Likewise, the Canadian visa application process may be a non-issue for refugees. While Australia addresses claims to asylum in writing with the physical creation of a temporary visa, Canada is more like the United States in simply granting refugee status.
Nevertheless, the country’s government does acknowledge special categories of applicants, and this is where the uniqueness of the Canadian visa program is exposed. One such class of working visa that separates Canada is the Canadian Experience Class, which very narrowly applies to individuals with work experience following a course of study in a post-secondary institution.
Also, given the idea that the country is divided into separate “provinces,” to earn a visa, Canada or a representative thereof may offer you documentation as nominee of a particular province. In addition, Quebec, which has its own separatist sensibilities in terms of relation to the rest of Canada, makes it own rules, so the acquisition of a visa is subject to their individual immigration policies, hence the need for a certificate of selection from the powers-that-be in Quebec.

Visas to Russia

Visas to Russia

When it comes to the visa application process, countries around the world are subject to variances on just how severe their restrictions and requirements are. The United States of America, for instance, while not exactly being lax on its travel guidelines and in fact upping security measures at airports significantly in the past decade, also lets in a large number of immigrants
1. Entry visas/extra visas – With regards to pretty much any type of visa to Russia an American citizen may seek, Russian visa requirements are such that all physical possession of visa documentation must be realized prior to arrival at a Russian port of entry. A Russian visa for the purpose of entry into the country most certainly cannot be obtained at immigrations and customs services within Russia, so to avoid refusal of entry and your forced, paid immediate removal
2. Migration card – A two-part migration card, often distributed to the American traveler during transit, is another facet of Russian visa requirements. The first part of the card is submitted to immigration officials upon arrival at a Russian port of entry, and the second is retained by Russian visa holders for the remainder of their stay, especially as needed for a hotel to review.
3. Restricted areas – Visa applicants are advised to avoid some areas of the Russian Federation completely. There are specific cities that are forbidden for American citizens to enter for fear of arrest, extradition4. Other considerations – While seemingly minor, some Russian visa requirements are nonetheless not to be taken lightly, as they reflect a zero-tolerance policy put forth by Russian immigration law. For one, only the ruble is to be used in Russia; attempted use of American currency may invoke stiff penalties from the Russian justice system. Moreover, even small doses prescription medication may be cause for refusal of entry or arrest by Russian authorities without proper documentation.