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US may add Brazil to Visit Visa Waiver Program

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US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Brazil this week to meet with international counterparts to discuss joint efforts to combat human trafficking, and facilitate legitimate trade and travel.

"Brazil is one of the United States' most steadfast allies and partners when it comes to protecting our hemisphere from evolving threats," said Napolitano. "We're pleased to be working with our Brazilian counterparts on efforts to both ensure national security and facilitate economic security."

Napolitano signed a Statement of Intent with Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota to begin a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Working Group in order to place Brazil on the US VWP list. Once the working group is created, the necessary actions will be taken to determine if Brazil can, in fact, be added to the VWP list.

"Foreign visitors to the U.S. spent more than $150 billion in 2011 on travel and tourism-related goods and services. VWP facilitates this trade and travel," said a department statement.

The Visa Waiver Program eases foreign travel to the US by enabling nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the US for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Countries currently part of the visa waiver program include Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Germany, and France.

Citizens of countries under the visa waiver program are still required to apply for the online Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application. ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program. You will need to submit the ESTA if:
  • You are a citizen or eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country.
  • You are currently not in possession of a visitor's visa.
  • Your travel is for 90 days or less.
  • You plan to travel to the US for business or pleasure.
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