Citizens of Croatia Can Now Travel to the U.S. Using the Visa Waiver Program

December 1, 2021 Croatian nationals can now enter the U.S. and spend up to 90 days in the country without first obtaining a visitors' visa (B-1 or B-2), due to new participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

** LEGAL UPDATE **

Croatian nationals can, as of December 1, 2021, enter the U.S. and spend up to 90 days in the country without first obtaining a visitors' visa (B-1 or B-2). That's because Croatia has officially begun participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Inclusion on this list is reserved for countries that meet various criteria, including having:

  • high rates of approvals for U.S. visas
  • low rates of citizens overstaying visas in the U.S.
  • the ability to issue secure travel documents to its citizens, and
  • governments that agree to share information on criminals and suspected terrorists with the U.S. government.

The main benefit to travelers who choose to use the VWP rather than obtaining a U.S. visa is ease of U.S. entry. Business or pleasure travelers who meet the basic legal requirements (in particular, who have never violated the terms of any past nonimmigrant visa, are not inadmissible to the United State, do not intend to stay in the U.S. longer than three months (90 days) much less permanently, and will not be arriving on a private aircraft or other non-VWP approved air or sea carrier), can arrange for U.S. entry with minimal bureaucratic requirements or documentation.

The main steps to getting VWP entry are to obtain a passport with a data chip containing biometric information and apply for and receive authorization through the U.S. State Department's Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

Of course, all travelers will still need to be screened upon U.S. entry for inadmissibility, and will need to meet the latest COVID-related health requirements, such as getting vaccinated.

Also, travelers will want to pay close attention to the limitations of the VWP before deciding to skip getting an actual visa; for example, their legal inability to extend, change, or adjust status in the United States. The VWP would specifically NOT, for a example, be a useful way for someone to enter the U.S. in hopes of then applying for a green card. At best, they'd have to return home to complete the process through a U.S. consulate.

See articles on Visiting the U.S. for Business, Pleasure, or Medical Treatment for details on the various possibilities.

Effective Date: December 1, 2021