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New US entry rules in place

Register for ESTA online

[January 8, 2009]

Passports and travel

From next Monday, January 12, millions of visitors travelling to the United States need to provide personal details online before departure.

The new Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) applies to people travelling to the United States for leisure or business trips of less than 90 days on the Visa Waiver Program.

Travellers are urged to apply online on the US Department of Homeland Security website as soon as they start planning their journey and 72 hours before their flight at the latest.

Visitors need to supply details such as biological data, their flight number, destination address and the answers to a list of security related questions. The new online system replaces the old green forms that passengers used to complete during their flights.

More than 15 million travellers from Great Britain and Western Europe enter the US on the Visa Waiver scheme every year.

An ESTA is valid for multiple entries for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. If approval is denied, the passenger will need to apply for a visa.

There is currently no charge for an ESTA application via the US government website.

Read our previous story on ESTA.

Written by: Maxine Clarke

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