Archive for the ‘VWPP’ Category

Traveling to the United States Virgin Islands Without a Visa – The Visa Waiver Pilot Program

August 13, 2012

Every day, hundreds of foreigners legally travel to the United States Virgin Islands without a visa. This travel is made possible through the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP).

Citizens of thirty-six authorized countries – listed here – are permitted to travel into the U.S. Virgin Islands without a first obtaining a visa through the VWPP. These travelers must arrive on a signatory carrier. Due to this requirement, those who travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands privately do not qualify for the VWPP. These travelers still require a regular visa.

Vessels and aircrafts become signatory carriers through signing an agreement with the United States Immigration and Naturalization service. Through this agreement, the carrier guarantees that they will transport any person back to their original destination should they be found inadmissible or deportable under applicable immigration laws. A list of Signatory Vessels is available through the U.S. Department of State and Foreign Affairs, here.

Travelers arriving on a Signatory Carrier must also be visiting for business or tourism purposes. Business purposes may include participation in business transactions, conventions, conferences, seminars, or research activities. Business visitors may not conduct activities for which they receive salary from a source within the United States. Tourism purposes include visiting, vacationing, seeking medical treatment, and social events. The traveler may be in the United States for a maximum of 90 days.

Utilizing the VWPP is advantageous when travelers wish to make spontaneous travel plans that do not allow time for obtaining a visa. However, travelers taking advantage of this program must ensure that their admission is proper – once a traveler has violated the terms of his admission, he may never again use the VWPP.