New US Customs rules start next week

7th Jan 2009

International travellers entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) will be subject to new enhanced security regulations from next week.

Pre-travel authorization becomes mandatory for all qualified VWP travellers from 12 January, and is obtained through a free, online registration system known as Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).ESTA applies only to those VWP travellers entering the United States by air or sea. Travellers entering by land either from Canada or Mexico are not required to register before travelling.
The new legislation requires all customers to provide personal information including their name, date of birth, and passport details, as well as optional travel information such as the flight number and destination address in the United States.
Travel Authorization is obtained through an online registration system known as ESTA. If your registration is successful, it will be valid for multiple applications for two years or until the date on which your passport expires, which ever comes first.
Customers can provide the information online at the
ESTA website or via their travel agent to obtain an ESTA that is valid for two years, allowing multiple visits to the US within that period without the need to re-apply. 

Jim Forster, British Airways’ Government and Industry Affairs Manager, said: “The US is our biggest overseas market and we have been working hard to advise our visa waiver customers that they must apply to the Department of Homeland Security well in advance of travel. 

“The website is quick, free and easy to use and the ESTA remains valid for two years. 

“We will be sending reminder messages to customers who have given us their email details to invite them to apply for ESTA.”




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