The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intent to add Israel as a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) designated country, allowing Israeli citizens to seek entry into the U.S. for periods of up to 90 days for tourism or business travel without first obtaining a B-1/B-2 visa stamp in their passports. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is expected to be updated by November 30, 2023 to facilitate this change.
Israel's addition to the U.S. VWP follows Israel's decision to allow short-term, visa-free travel by U.S. citizens to Israel for business, tourism, and transit, which went into effect in July of this year.
The VWP was established to provide short-term, visa-free travel benefits to citizens of participating countries, who reciprocate the same travel benefits to U.S. passport holders. A traveler seeking to enter the U.S. pursuant to the VWP must be a citizen or national of a VWP designated country, must have a valid travel authorization through ESTA, and must have an e-passport compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization's security standards with validity for at least six months beyond their intended stay in the U.S. Israeli nationals seeking entry into the U.S. for periods greater than 90 days or for purposes other than tourism or business travel will continue to require visa stamps in their passports for travel to the U.S.
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