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Jan 12, 09 - USA introduces ESTA entry form online January 12, 2009 7:08 AM

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Yet another US restriction to make travellers feel unsafe

Remember the inflight entry form that you hitherto had to fill in for entry into the USA (as a visa free entry country)?

Well, as of today 12th Jan 2009, it has been phased out and you will, in future have to complete questions like "are you a drug smuggler?"  or ""are you a criminal?" online before flight departure or face possible entry refusal into the United States (of Homeland Security). 

A US representative told BBC UK's Breakfast news programme today that a transitional period will take place whereby both systems are available.  Whether that is 1 day, 1 week or 1 month, he did not comment.

Read the CNN news article below and follow the link/s at the foot of the message

Gari the

Visitors to U.S. face refusal under new online entry system

  • Story Highlights
  • Travelers risk being turned away at U.S. airports, as entry rules come into effect
  • ESTA allows short-term visitors under the visa waiver program entry to the U.S.
  • Visitors must register details online at least three days before they depart
  • Next Article in Travel »
LONDON, England (CNN) -- From today, travelers visiting the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) risk being detained at airports and sent home if they don't comply with new U.S. immigration rules.
Thousands of travelers risk being detained and sent home from U.S. airports and ports.

Thousands of travelers risk being detained and sent home from U.S. airports and ports.

The introduction of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) means visitors from 27 VWP countries -- including most of Western Europe, New Zealand, Japan and Australia -- must now register their details online at least three days before departure.

ESTA -- which came into effect today -- replaces the written green I-94 form and allows travelers under the VWP to enter the U.S. without a visa and stay for up to 90 days.

The measure is designed to tighten security and make it harder for terrorists who are citizens of the participating countries to easily obtain entry to the U.S.

Critics fear the new rule will be an inconvenience for business travelers and the British Foreign Office is concerned that travelers who have not heard about the new rules may be caught out.

A British Foreign Office report on travel trends for 2009 predicted that 13 percent of British travelers are more likely to visit the States now Barack Obama has been elected. "The consequences of not registering through ESTA could therefore be far reaching," says the Foreign Office.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has assured travelers that the system can handle last-minute and emergency requests.

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