Mandatory Deadline For ESTA Enrollment Is January 12, 2009

As previously reported in this newsletter, beginning January 12, 2009, all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers will be required to obtain an approved travel authorization from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). In order to comply with ESTA, such travelers will be required to submit electronic applications containing basic biographic, travel, and VWP eligibility information to the Department of Homeland Security prior to traveling to the United States. The application must be approved before the VWP traveler can travel into the United States.  

Upon receipt of ESTA approval, VWP travelers may visit the United States in 90-day periods for multiple times up to two years or until the traveler's passport expires (whichever expiration comes first). Note that VWP travelers who have not received ESTA approval after ESTA becomes mandatory may be denied boarding, experience delayed processing, or be denied admission at a U.S. port of entry.

DHS recently reported that the ESTA Web site has been enhanced to better facilitate travel by nationals of VWP countries to the United States. Instructions on how to obtain an electronic travel authorization are now available in 13 additional languages: Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish. The ESTA Web site is available here.