“ International travelers 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 Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization. „
I have started to travel to the US a couple of times a year and have had to do the ESTA procedure.
To be quite honest I do not see how it helps anything but I needed so did it. The ESTA itself cost me about £12 after the exchange rate so not sure how much it will be when you do it.
There does seem to be some rather strange questions like 'Are you a terrorist or been involved in terrorist activity.' Possibly I am being cynical but I really can not see many terrorists been foiled by this cunning plan of just asking them, same as 'Am I a nazi war criminal' I would of thought any nazi war criminals who have evaded capture for 68 years have got quite used to lying about it.
Apart from that little moan the form was easy to complete without any difficult questions, I don't have a criminal record so had nothing to worry about. There is a lot of information asked for which they do not require although you do need to read the small print for this, i.e name of hotel where staying. I only noticed this as I was going to be moving about and not sure where I would be all the way through the trip.
There's already an excellent review written about the visa waiver system for entering the U.S which is very comprehensive and tells you everything you need to know about the form. I just feel the need, after going online to fill mine in today to reiterate to everyone that this is an entirely FREE procedure.
I was absolutely appalled that when I used Google to search for this facility, that all of the most prominently featured ones were in fact agencies that charge a fee for this service. Worse still a few of them looked very official and I worry that people will be paying for this because they are ill informed.
One of the sites I looked at was charging a staggering £25 per person!
I then looked at the website I booked my flights on and they too were charging for this "service". It seems that most agents have jumped on this very lucrative bandwagon.
The webistes are very reassuring promising an express service and very secure payment systems. But please, please don't fall for it.
In reality the form takes 5 minutes to fill in, you get your permission almost instantly (with an option to print it off) and it is of course completely 100% free.
It really pains me that we always have to be vigilant about things like this, in our so called "transparent" society. As far as I'm concerned this way of doing business is almost criminal and shouldn't be allowed.
Anyway, glad to have got that off my chest. I'll go put the world to rights elsewhere now!
Whilst in Sta travel, I asked what visas you needed for going to certain countries. The USA was one of them. I was advised to fill out this online visa application at least 72 hours before entering the country. Before January 2009, this was done on a scrap of paper on the plane. I remember my dad filling it in when we went to Boston when I was 10.
Now you must fill this in, as you wont be able to fill anything in on the aeroplane. Its to prove that you arent staying for very long so you dont need something like a green card visa or trying to stay there to live.
The website is easy to use, just read the guidelines to who needs to apply. Basically everyone whos going there on holiday for a few weeks. As long as your not working there this is the right form to fill in.
Im not sure what you do if you dont have internet access. Just go to an internet cafe. The form is really simple, just simple things like name, address, contact details and reasons for travel.
Have a nice holiday in america!
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorisation.
The department of homeland security of the USA now requires all persons entering the USA to pre register with them prior to travelling to the USA..
If you have not done this then you will not be permitted to enter the USA let alone get on a plane bound for the states.
It is a simple on line process which has to be completed up to 72 hours prior to departure. Anyone booking flights to the USA should have been informed of this by your ticket issuer or travel agent.
The system became mandatory this January although you could register prior to that.
All passengers who enter the USA under the visa waiver programme must register that includes all EU citizens and some other countries.
If you do not have access to a computer at home or at work you can use the facilities in your local library. There are some companies who will do this for you for a fee of course but it is entirely free at the moment and very simple to do taking less than five minutes.
On the home page of the US embassy on the right hand side of the page click on the link for ESTA. It will take you to the ESTA welcome page and you can choose which language to complete it in.
There are two choices to make initially
1. If you are a new applicant.
2. To update your details.
There are a few steps to complete the application.
1. Complete the registration form: details required are
3. First name
5. Country of residence
8. Email address (Don't worry if you do not have one).
9. Telephone number
10. Passport number
11. Place of issue
12. Start date.
14. Place of departure.
16. Flight number
17. Address in the USA where you are staying.
There follows a couple of declarations you have to click.
Click next to submit application which whizzes off
An application number is issued.
After a few minutes approval is given which you can print out.
It is so simple to complete however I understand that if you are landing by boat and not an airport or on a non approved airline you still have to apply for a visa.
You still have to complete the landing cards on the plane and present them to immigration on arrival. It still does not guarantee you entry to the USA just to travel to the USA and from my recent experience it certainly does not speed your admission to the USA.
My over all opinion is that it is so very simple and straightforward to do yourself so why pay someone to do it for you.
Good luck and Happy Holiday!