Israel Designated into the US Visa Waiver Program

On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State announced the designation of Israel into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). By November 30, 2023, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) will be updated to allow citizens and nationals of Israel to apply to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without first obtaining a U.S. visa.

Prior to securing entry into the VWP, Israel put forth a significant whole-of-government effort to meet all program requirements, including passing multiple new laws, establishing information sharing systems, and implementing new entry procedures for all U.S. citizens.

All U.S. citizens may request entry to Israel for up to 90 days for business, tourism, or transit without obtaining a visa.

What to Expect

Under the VWP, on November 30, 2023, citizens and nationals of Israel will be able to apply online for authorization to travel to the United States through the ESTA. These authorizations are generally valid for two years. Israeli citizens with valid B-1/B-2 visas may continue to use them for business and tourist travel to the United States. ESTA applications may be found at or download the “ESTA Mobile” app through iOS App Store or the Google Play store.

About the Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program is designed to enhance the security of the United States and partner countries while encouraging legitimate travel and commerce. VWP countries must meet strict requirements related to counterterrorism, law enforcement, immigration enforcement, document security, and border management, including:

  • confirmation that a country issues secure travel documents;
  • extends visa-free privileges to all U.S. citizens without regard to national origin, religion, or ethnicity;
  • works closely with U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism authorities;
  • and for initial designation, has a rate of nonimmigrant visitor visa refusals below 3% during the previous full fiscal year.
Erickson Insights

As is the process with all VWP countries, the U.S. Government will continue to engage with the Government of Israel while monitoring its continued implementation of all program requirements, including the reciprocity commitments it made to the United States on July 19, 2023. Israel is the 41st member of the VWP. More information on the VWP can be found at

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.