Croatia Becomes a New Member of US Visa Waiver Program

Croatia has officially joined the USA Visa Waiver Program. From December 1st, 2021, Croatians will be able to travel to the States visa-free.

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As of September 28th, 2021, Croatia officially became a member of the US Visa Waiver Program. Beginning from December 1st, 2021, Croatians will be able to cross the American borders visa-free for a short-time stay not exceeding 3 months. They will only need to obtain ESTA, which is an online travel authorization dedicated to the Visa Waiver Program members. ESTA is issued for trips of business or leisure character.

Croatia had to meet specific conditions to finally join the ESTA Visa Waiver Program. It is great news for Croatians who plan to visit the U.S. soon, particularly now, when the States have announced relaxing the travel norms for EU countries in November.  

US Visa Waiver Program

The USA VWP operates under the management of the US Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. The VWP aim is to allow international visitors from particular countries in the world to visit the States for tourism or business-related reasons and stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days without the need to obtain a regular visa before the planned trip.

There are 39 more countries taking part in the ESTA USA VWP apart from Croatia.  The process of incorporation of Croatia to the VWP was preceded by the fulfillment of a few requirements. The most important one was to achieve the rejection rate for US business and tourist visa applications at a level below 3%.

ESTA to the United States

ESTA is an equivalent of an electronic visa. Currently, 40 countries participating in the VWP for the USA can obtain ESTA online and travel visa-free to the States. The introduction of ESTA has been facilitating entry to the U.S. for many business travelers, tourists, and those making just a transit stop before reaching their final destination. Croatians now can submit an online form and receive the online travel authorization delivered to their email inbox. The application needs to be submitted at least 3 business days prior to the intended American trip. 

Benefits of being a member of ESTA VWP

Croatians do not need to book Embassy appointments weeks before the trip to the U.S. anymore. From December 1, 2021, they will be eligible for ESTA online application. In practice, it also means no need to plan to explore the American tourist attractions or attend any business meetings or events held in the States long in advance.

ESTA is digitally connected with the applicant?s passport so its holder does not need to print it out and carry its physical version. What is more, since the travel authorization is issued for 2 years or until the passport expiration date and functions as a multiple-entry permit, its holder is not obliged to apply for a new authorization each time ahead of the US travel plans.

Katarzyna Żyła

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