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  1. #1

    Default A change in the Visa Waiver Program from 12th Jan 2009

    I have just discovered that there has been a change in the Visa Waiver Program for entry into the States. You now have to apply online prior to arival in the States. Basically you have to fill out that little green form I-94 (the one I always mess up) electronically in the same way as you apply for a visa for entry to Australia. I have not read the main forum for a while, of course, so it may be something that has been covered but it is worth brushing up on if not as it will be important advice for anyone planning a trip to the US
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-23-2008 at 04:21 PM. Reason: This post was copied from a private forum for inclusion here

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Jan 2009

    Hi Craig,

    It's the first I had heard of it so I done a search and that is the case from Jan 2009.

    A report I found here

    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. #3


    I am off to Florida in a couple of weeks so will report back on how simple (or otherwise) the procedure is...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default That will be helpful

    This query comes up about once a week -- so I'll look forward to your experiences and field report!


  5. #5


    No worries
    I wll actually be 'stress-testing' it to a degree as I will actually be using it as a multi-entry visa (for want of a better description): once to enter from the UK and once from Canada. This makes me a little nervous to be honest (I have crossed a number of borders and the USA border has always been the only one which makes me nervous!) so if anyone reading this has any experience of the new system I'd love to hear how it wnt!

  6. #6

    Default US Online Entry System

    I know it's been mentioned before but as it came into effect today (12 January 2009), it's probably worth highlighting a fairly major change in the way many visitors will now have to apply to get into America.

    In the past, visitors from the 27 Visa Waiver Program countries (including most of Western Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Japan) had to complete a green I-94 form on the plane, which was then handed in on arrival. Assuming this was approved, you were then okay to stay for up to 90 days.

    This paper-based system has now been replaced by an on-line process. The questions are the same, approval is reckoned to be virtually immediate and the new system has the added advantage (for frequent visitors) of only having to be carried out every two years. You can apply even if you have no immediate travel plans.

    Visit the official ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization website for more advice and to work through the application process.

    The advice is that you need to apply at least three days before you travel.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Thanks for the Reminder

    Thanks for the reminder Peter,

    UK Craig also brought up this change a few weeks ago, but I didn't realise that today was the start date.

    Hopefully the new system will be easy and have relatively few bugs (although what are the odds of that with a government, particularly homeland security, program?) and we'll have a few people report back on how easy or difficult this new program is.

  8. #8

    Default Immediate approval - for one of us at least

    Right then - first hand experience of applying for authorization via the ESTA website (you can apply at any time, you don't need travel dates or hotel details).

    The forms are clear and easy to use, and the entire process takes less than five minutes. Click submit, complete one of those wonky word checks to prove you're not a robot and ... seconds later you have authorization to travel to the US at any time for the next two years.

    Well, you do if you're my wife Carole.

    I on the other hand received a message advising me that my "travel authorization is under review because an immediate determination could not be made for [my] application. This response does not indicate negative findings. A determination will be available within 72 hours."

    As I am as clean as the driven snow, I'm presuming this is either a random check or more likely, one instigated because I ticked the "Male" box. This hopefully brief hiccup aside, it's a quick and pain-free process.

    Update: I checked back on the site an hour later and - yes - I'm now "authorized" too.

    Last edited by Peter Thody; 01-12-2009 at 12:16 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Starts Today.

    I have applied online (same questions as were on the green paper form -I-94W ) and received clearance. Few key points - see below - taken from here.

    *Allows travel but does not guarantee entry into the USA – CBP officer has final say.

    *DHS recommends that an ESTA approval be obtained as soon as a VWP traveller begins to plan a trip to the United States.

    * Travellers who do not fill in the forms will be barred from boarding an aircraft or vessel bound for the US.

    *ESTA has been designed to allow for the accommodation of last minute and emergency travellers.

    *Travellers are not required to have specific plans to travel to the United States under the VWP before they apply for an ESTA authorization.

    *Online authority valid for up to two years or until the traveller’s passport expires.

    *The green visa waiver form filled out on the aircraft has now gone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Thanks for this field report

    Thanks to both of you for this very timely information!


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