While visa wait times remain long, visitors from countries who are a part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) may be able to skip the line and travel to the U.S. for clinical rotations without a visa. Through this program, passport-holding citizens of VWP countries are able to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days by applying through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
Keep reading below for more about the Visa Waiver Program and how qualifying for travel through the ESTA may work for you.
What is ESTA?
The ESTA is an approval for travel to the United States. It does not guarantee entry into the United States but qualifies you to board a plane (or another transit method) bound for the United States. However, once approved for entry at customs, you will be allowed to stay in the U.S. fo up to 90 days without a visa. While there are some restrictions on the purpose of travel, which will be discussed later, traveling for your clinical rotations through the ESTA can be easier and quicker than obtaining a visitor’s visa
To take advantage of travel through the ESTA, all that is needed is:
- A passport from a VWP country
- A valid email address, home address, and phone number
- The email and phone number for an emergency contact
- A $14 payment
Not Just for Tourism
While you may have used ESTA approval for travel to the United States for tourism purposes, ESTA approval allows for other travel purposes that may work for your clinical training.
With ESTA approval, you are permitted to travel for any reason allowed with a B-Visa. While B-Visas permit travel for tourism, certain business purposes are also covered. This includes travel for professional training that is shorter than 90 days. Because most clinical rotations through AMO are four weeks long, this allows for the room after your trip to travel the U.S. leisurely or to attend another clinical rotation by bundling programs together.
While traveling for business purposes is permitted by ESTA approval, this travel is limited to unpaid professional reasons such as negotiating a contract, training, attending a conference, or meetings with associates.
Although the risk of receiving compensation should not affect travel for clinical training, knowing the limitations of the ESTA is always important to keep in mind to ensure no violations occur.
Have questions about traveling for your clinical experience? Reach out to an advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org