Requirements for US Visa Waiver Program to Go Ahead in Chile
Once accepted into the Visa Waiver Program, the price for Chileans to enter the US will fall from US$160 to US$14.
Should Chile meet the requirements set out by the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP), it will become the first Latin American country to be exempted from lengthy visa procedures and costs for tourism trips under 90 days to the USA. Thirty-seven other countries are already part of the VWP, including countries in Asia and Europe.
Before being accepted into the program, Chile must implement its electronic ID and passport program, slated to start in September this year. “Once we start issuing these passports, the US Department of Homeland Security will send an inspection team to visit the country and review our immigration controls, the passport issuance process and other factors,” says Chile’s ambassador to the United States Felipe Bulnes.
Full incorporation into the program should occur between six and eight months after the inspection visit.
At the moment, a US visa costs US$160 – excluding the cost of traveling to Santiago for a personal interview with the US Embassy – and takes at least a week to process. Currently applicants also need to fill out an online application, undergo rigorous background checks as well as the personal interview.
Once accepted into the VWP, Chileans will only have to fill out an electronic travel authorization via 72 hours before the flight, with the name and basic details of the trip. This form will cost US$14 and will run for two years.