MESA - Middle East Studies Association

Alert: New Visa Waiver Program Regulations

Residents of countries that participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VSP) should be aware of several important changes that will impact eligibility requirements to travel to the U.S.

If you have traveled to one of the countries listed below since March 1, 2011, you will need a visa to travel to the U.S. (i.e. the VWP no longer applies to you).

    • Iran
    • Iraq
    • Libya
    • Somalia
    • Syria
    • Sudan
    • Yemen


    Effective April 1, 2016, travelers using the VWP must have an e-passport ( These passports have a machine-readable zone on the biographic page and a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner.

    Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

    The Department of Homeland Security has established the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), an automated system to determine eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program. All persons traveling under the VWP must apply for an ESTA. Approved ESTA applications are good for a period of two years. Further information is available here:

    Travelers are encouraged to get everything in order for travel to the U.S. in advance of purchasing airline tickets. We encourage you to read the information on these new programs by following the above links.

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