The United States has reduced the validity period of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization for Greek citizens using the Visa Waiver Program to travel to the U.S.

Key points:

  • The change took effect April 1.
  • Greek citizens applying for new or renewal ESTAs should be aware that their ESTA will be valid for one year instead of the standard two years.
  • Existing ESTAs for Greek citizens will remain valid for two years from the date of authorization or until their passport expires, whichever occurs first.

Background: The Visa Waiver Program currently allows nationals of 38 countries, mostly in Europe, to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days for business or tourism without a visa. Travelers using the program must be prescreened and obtain an ESTA, which is normally valid for two years.

The U.S. has recently tightened program criteria, including requiring e-passports and restricting certain dual nationals and those who have traveled recently to certain “countries of concern”.

BAL Analysis: The reduced validity is consistent with recent security enhancements to the program and the Department of Homeland Security’s increased scrutiny and review of countries participating in the program.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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