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This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

On October 19, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the start of visa-free travel for short-term visits to the United States for eligible Israeli citizens and nationals following Israel’s admission into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Eligible Israeli citizens and nationals can apply for authorization to travel to the United States through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

This authorization allows eligible Israelis to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without first obtaining a U.S. visa. Israeli citizens and nationals with valid B-1/B-2 visas may continue to use them for business and tourist travel to the United States, DHS said.

DHS explained that eligible Israeli citizens and nationals must have a biometrically enabled passport book. Travelers who possess non-biometric, temporary or emergency travel documents, or travel documents from a non-VWP designated country, are not eligible for travel under the VWP and may instead apply for a U.S. visa. ESTA applications may take up to 72 hours for processing. The ESTA application will be available in English now and in other languages by November 1, 2023, DHS said.

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