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ESTA / Visa Waiver Program

Most Finnish travelers to the United States do not need a visa thanks to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Finnish nationals are encouraged to use the VWP when they meet the criteria listed below:

  • You are a Finnish citizen
  • You hold your own Finnish passport* that is
    • unexpired and valid for the duration of your trip to the U.S.
    • machine-readable
  • You are traveling for business or tourism
  • You will stay in the United States for 90 days or less
  • You hold a return ticket to the country of departure
  • You have proof of financial solvency
  • You enter the United States aboard an air or sea carrier that has agreed to participate in the Visa Waiver Program (all major airlines are signatories), or over a land crossing as long as you can prove to the satisfaction of the U.S. immigration officials that your stay will be temporary in its nature.
  • Note: If children are included in their parents’ passports, and do not have passports of their own, they do need to obtain appropriate category non-immigrant visas, even if the parents are in possession of valid machine-readable passports containing digital photograph. If children have their own machine-readable digitized passports, they can travel on a Visa Waiver Program, if the purpose of travel is pleasure or business, and the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program are met.

For more information about the Visa Waiver Program, please visit the US Department of State’s travel web page.

* New rules for the VWP require that each individual, even babies and children, carry their own machine-readable passport to travel visa-free to the United States.

The VWP may also be used in lieu of a transit visa for persons traveling through the United States to another country. If otherwise qualified for the VWP, the individual does not need to get a visa for purposes of the transit through the US.

Some travelers may not be eligible for visa-free travel to the United States. Please review the following list of ineligibilities for the VWP program. If any of the items apply to you, please contact Consular Section - Visa Unit at

  • A person with a criminal record
  • A person whose US visa application has been refused
  • A person who has been deported from the US
  • A drug abuser/addict/trafficker
  • A person with a mental or physical disorder that has or may in the future cause a threat to others or themselves
  • A person connected with Nazi persecutions, or a person who has participated in genocide
  • A person who has ever detained, retained or withheld custody of a child from a U.S. citizen granted custody of the child
  • A person who has ever asserted diplomatic immunity
  • A person with certain communicable disease (such as infectious tuberculosis)

VWP biometric passport requirements

All Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers, regardless of age or type of passport used, must present machine-readable passports. In addition, depending on when VWP travelers’ passports were issued, other passport requirements will apply:

  • Machine-readable passports issued before 10/26/05 – no further requirements
  • Machine-readable passports issued between 10/26/05 and 10/25/06 – requires digital photograph printed on the data page or integrated chip with information from the data page
  • Machine-readable passports issued on or after 10/26/06 – requires integrated chip with information from the data page (e-passport)

A photo of a machine-readable passport is available at the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Important Notice

  • Please note:
    The Visa Waiver Program is not an appropriate substitute for an A or G visa when traveling to the US on official business, even if the trip is for less than 90-days.