International Attendees

Approximately half of the attendees at DDW arrive from countries outside the U.S., and DDW Administration’s goal is to make their entire experience as hassle-free and rewarding as possible.

All sessions will be conducted in English. Bilingual personnel (Spanish/English) will be on site at the information booths.

You can also find international travel information — including entering the U.S., Chicago basic facts and foreign currency exchange — on the Choose Chicago website.

Important Information about the Visa Waiver Program

The U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens and nationals from 34 countries to travel to and enter the United States for business or visitor purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.

New VWP Requirements

  • Effective July 1, 2009, all VWP emergency or temporary passports must be electronic passports (e-Passports) to be eligible for travel to the United States. This includes VWP applicants who present emergency or temporary passports to transit the United States. View the VWP and ESTA FAQ.
  • Effective Jan. 12, 2009, international travelers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are now subject to enhanced security requirements. All eligible travelers who wish to travel under the VWP must apply for authorization using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) website.

ESTA is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the VWP. It collects the same information as the paper I-94W form that VWP travelers currently fill out en route to the United States. ESTA applications may be completed online at and submitted at any time prior to travel, though it is recommended that travelers apply when they begin preparing travel plans.

An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States. DHS recommends that ESTA applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans.

Learn more about ESTA on the DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website