Poland will become the 39th member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on November 11, 2019.

Polish citizens and nationals will be able to apply to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa stamp — but they first must register online with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan made this announcement, explaining that the move is “a testament to the special relationship that exists between our two countries, and the ongoing friendship and close cooperation on our joint security priorities.”

Polish citizens and nationals who already have valid B1/B2 visa stamps in their passports should continue to use those for travel to the United States. ESTA will start accepting online applications for the VWP from Polish citizens and nationals who do not have valid B1/B2 visas on November 11th.

In order to be eligible for the VWP, an applicant must have an e-passport enhanced with an embedded electronic chip for security. Because ESTA applications can take up to 72 hours to adjudicate, it is important to apply to ESTA a comfortable time in advance of the departure date.

ESTA authorization generally is valid for multiple trips to the United States for a two-year period or until the passport expiration date, whichever is earlier.

Should you have any questions about the VWP or ESTA, please reach out to a Jackson Lewis attorney.