Click to join an upcoming live event

Turn off Ads (click)

Click on your language to translate this article:

Afrikaans Afrikaans Albanian Albanian Amharic Amharic Arabic Arabic Armenian Armenian Azerbaijani Azerbaijani Basque Basque Belarusian Belarusian Bengali Bengali Bosnian Bosnian Bulgarian Bulgarian Catalan Catalan Cebuano Cebuano Chichewa Chichewa Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional) Corsican Corsican Croatian Croatian Czech Czech Danish Danish Dutch Dutch English English Esperanto Esperanto Estonian Estonian Filipino Filipino Finnish Finnish French French Frisian Frisian Galician Galician Georgian Georgian German German Greek Greek Gujarati Gujarati Haitian Creole Haitian Creole Hausa Hausa Hawaiian Hawaiian Hebrew Hebrew Hindi Hindi Hmong Hmong Hungarian Hungarian Icelandic Icelandic Igbo Igbo Indonesian Indonesian Irish Irish Italian Italian Japanese Japanese Javanese Javanese Kannada Kannada Kazakh Kazakh Khmer Khmer Korean Korean Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Lao Lao Latin Latin Latvian Latvian Lithuanian Lithuanian Luxembourgish Luxembourgish Macedonian Macedonian Malagasy Malagasy Malay Malay Malayalam Malayalam Maltese Maltese Maori Maori Marathi Marathi Mongolian Mongolian Myanmar (Burmese) Myanmar (Burmese) Nepali Nepali Norwegian Norwegian Pashto Pashto Persian Persian Polish Polish Portuguese Portuguese Punjabi Punjabi Romanian Romanian Russian Russian Samoan Samoan Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic Serbian Serbian Sesotho Sesotho Shona Shona Sindhi Sindhi Sinhala Sinhala Slovak Slovak Slovenian Slovenian Somali Somali Spanish Spanish Sudanese Sudanese Swahili Swahili Swedish Swedish Tajik Tajik Tamil Tamil Telugu Telugu Thai Thai Turkish Turkish Ukrainian Ukrainian Urdu Urdu Uzbek Uzbek Vietnamese Vietnamese Welsh Welsh Xhosa Xhosa Yiddish Yiddish Yoruba Yoruba Zulu Zulu
Travel News

Over 8 million register under US Visa Waiver Program using ESTA

estabanner2
Avatar
Written by editor

US Customs and Border Protection officials announced that eight million international travelers have successfully applied to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program using the Electro

US Customs and Border Protection officials announced that eight million international travelers have successfully applied to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program using the Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTA, which launched on August 1, 2008 and become mandatory on January 12, 2009, allows VWP travelers to apply electronically for visa-free travel to the US.

ESTA approvals are required for VWP travelers only, and there is no cost to apply. Individuals should go to the official government site at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov to apply online and should not be misled by unauthorized companies claiming to be able to “facilitate” registration through other sites for a fee. These companies have no affiliation with the US government.

“We are pleased that this technology is proving very helpful to our Visa Waiver Program visitors,” said assistant commissioner for field operations Thomas S. Winkowski. “ESTA adds a necessary layer of security for visa-free travel, as well as for the travel industry, and we want to continue to encourage individuals to visit the many wonderful destinations the United States has to offer.”

Citizens traveling under the Visa Waiver Program, or VWP, are required to apply online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov prior to their visit to the United States. Travelers may apply before they have firm travel plans, since an approved ESTA is generally valid for two years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first. VWP travelers must also present a DHS-approved passport to CBP officers upon entry. Citizens participating in the VWP must travel only for business, pleasure, or transit; stay in the US for 90 days or less; and, if arriving by sea or air, hold a valid ticket for return or onward travel and enter the US aboard an air or sea carrier designated as a participant in the VWP. For additional information on these requirements, please visit www.cbp.gov/esta.

While ESTA is an important step in modernizing the VWP and is intended to eventually replace the paper I-94W form filled out by travelers in flight, that form is still required in the interim as CBP works together with the airline industry to fully automate the process.

The VWP aims to facilitate tourism and short-term business visits to the United States. After program expansion in 2008, there are now 35 countries that are approved for participation in the VWP: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Japan, the Republic of Korea,Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.