Aug 13 2008
Homeland Security Opens Electronic System for Travel Authorization for Volunteer Participation
The Department of Homeland Security will be introducing the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) on a voluntary basis for individuals entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
The Department of Homeland Security has informed the public that they will be introducing the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) on a voluntary basis for individuals entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The new system will be mandatory in January 2009 and will then require VWP travelers to use the online program to receive advance approval (at least 72 hours in advance of their travels) before entering the U.S. VWP travelers that use the ESTA program will be allowed to board transportation to travel to the U.S.; they will still pass through inspection at a U.S. port of entry.
This new program, which, again, is voluntary until January 2009, asks VWP travelers to visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov, where they will provide their biographical and passport information, their VWP eligibility information and data regarding arrest records, communicable diseases and historical visa denials, if applicable. Currently, VWP travelers provide this information at a U.S. port of entry. ESTA data, once submitted, will be reviewed against relevant U.S. databases. The ESTA system should provide real-time eligibility determination for the VWP traveler.