person holding small Israeli flag in front of american flag

Recently, the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that Israel has been welcomed into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This inclusion contains significant impacts for many looking to travel between the United States and Israel, so understanding what this means is critical. The following blog explores more about these recent changes and how a New York City immigration lawyer can assist you if you have questions or concerns about visas or your waiver eligibility.

What Is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program was established to promote tourism and commerce between the United States and partner countries. Essentially, this program allows most citizens to travel to partner countries for up to 90 days without a visa. This helps make it easier for citizens to travel between countries to promote a strong global economy and relations with foreign countries.

However, it is necessary to note that you must have an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and meet the necessary requirements to have your visa requirements waived prior to traveling to a partner country.

It’s important to note that Israel was required to meet strict qualifications to be accepted into this program. Generally, they are required to work with United States law enforcement to help combat terrorism and other criminal activities. The Department of Homeland Security will continue to monitor the implementation of requirements to ensure Israel adheres to the provisions set in place by the Visa Waiver Program, as done with all partner countries.

Additionally, Israel had to update its entry requirements to meet the strict standards established by the United States for the Visa Waiver Program to join forty other countries on this list. This includes the addition of information-sharing systems with the United States for full transparency.

How Does This Update Impact Me?

If you are a United States Citizen or Israeli national and wish to travel to either country, you can apply for authorization starting November 30, 2023. Generally, these authorizations are valid for up to 2 years, meaning you do not have to apply for a visa every time you wish to travel, and you only need to update your ESTA every two years.

In the event you have a B-1 or B-2 visa as a citizen of Israel, you may continue to use that as normal for tourism or business purposes.

When you have questions regarding this program, understanding how the Law Office of Jason A. Dennis can help you through this process is critical. Our dedicated team is ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you have about your eligibility or application for the Visa Waiver Program. Contact our New York City firm today to discuss your circumstances with a member of our legal team.