Effective January 20, 2010, inbound travelers to the United States from Visa Waiver Program countries may be denied boarding by the airlines if they haven’t complied with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program.
ESTA, introduced in January 2009, requires all international travelers from VWP countries to register in an online database. Previously, international travelers had to fill out an I-94W form before each trip, but ESTA seeks to streamline and update the process. Now, international travelers to the United States must go to the ESTA Web site and fill out an application before entering the country by air or sea. If approved, the authorization is good for two years and can be renewed. Travelers no longer have to fill out an I-94W form before each trip. U.S. officials say ESTA will speed up the process for travelers, enable customs officials to screen passengers in advance, and improve security.
The ESTA requirement does not affect U.S. citizens returning from overseas, people from VWP countries traveling on a valid U.S. visa, or travelers from non-VWP nations.
Questions? Click here to go to the government travel page.
Note: AQS is only passing along this information to those traveling into the U.S. from other countries. We cannot answer questions about this form, who needs to complete it, or the process for approval. You will need to contact the government travel page for answers to questions (link provided above).