Visa Waiver Program - 2009 Changes

Since January 12, 2009, visitors previously eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program now need obtain approval through the USA's Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before traveling. It's a simple and FREE on... more

Since January 12, 2009, visitors previously eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program now need obtain approval through the USA's Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before traveling. It's a simple and FREE online process. Applications and further information can be found on the ESTA website. US Homeland Security reminds travelers that unauthorized third parties have established Web sites that charge visitors seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. These businesses and Web sites are not endorsed by, associated with, or affiliated in any way with DHS or the United States Government. Again, the United States Government does not charge a fee to obtain information about, apply for, or obtain a travel authorization through the ESTA™ Web site. Use of a private service to apply for travel authorization via ESTA will not expedite the granting of approval. The ESTA application Web site is available in 16 languages (Ceština, Dansk, Deutsch, Eesti, English, Español, Français, Íslenska, Italiano, Japanese, Korean, Latviešu, Lietuviu, Magyar, Nederlands, Norsk, Português, Slovencina, Slovenšcina, Suomi & Svenska) ... more

Since January 12, 2009, visitors previously eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program now need obtain approval through the USA's Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before traveling. It's a simple and FREE online process. Applications and further information can be found on the ESTA website.

US Homeland Security reminds travelers that unauthorized third parties have established Web sites that charge visitors seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. These businesses and Web sites are not endorsed by, associated with, or affiliated in any way with DHS or the United States Government. Again, the United States Government does not charge a fee to obtain information about, apply for, or obtain a travel authorization through the ESTA™ Web site. Use of a private service to apply for travel authorization via ESTA will not expedite the granting of approval.

The ESTA application Web site is available in 16 languages (Ceština, Dansk, Deutsch, Eesti, English, Español, Français, Íslenska, Italiano, Japanese, Korean, Latviešu, Lietuviu, Magyar, Nederlands, Norsk, Português, Slovencina, Slovenšcina, Suomi & Svenska) and includes a help section that provides additional information for VWP travelers to guide them through the application process. Additional information about ESTA may be found at: http://www.cbp.gov/esta.

As a reminder, countries in the Visa Waiver Program are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Individuals who already posses a valid B1/B2 or other classification of visa will still be able to travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose it was issued. Individuals traveling on valid visas will not be required to apply for an ESTA.

Finally, each approved ESTA application generally will be valid for a period of two years and allows for multiple visits to the United States within that period without having to apply for another ESTA. Travelers whose ESTA applications are approved, but whose passports will expire in less than two years, will receive an ESTA valid until the passport’s expiration date. So good news: if you will be making multiple trips to the United States, this will eliminate the need to fill out that annoying I-94W form every time you visit! Just keep a record of your ESTA approval number. DHS recommends that travelers print out the ESTA application response in order to maintain a record of their ESTA application number and to have confirmation of their ESTA status.

Travel tip: store the ESTA printout with your passport and you'll always know where it is.


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