Many business visitors from non-U.S. countries travel to the United States pursuant to the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”) to attend meetings and conferences or for vacation purposes. Travelers from VWP countries* are permitted to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without first obtaining a visitor’s visa. Until now, they have been permitted to simply buy a ticket, board a plane, and travel to the U.S. As of January 12, 2009, all citizens of VWP countries who plan to travel to the United States for business or tourism using the VWP must pre-register with the Electronic System for Travel Authority (“ESTA”) program and receive an electronic travel authorization prior to boarding a U.S.-bound airplane or cruise ship. (The requirement will not affect U.S. citizens traveling overseas.) ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, although it is recommended that the VWP traveler apply for ESTA travel authorization at least 72 hours before departing for the United States. VWP travelers may apply for ESTA authorization at Once approved, ESTA travel authorizations will be valid for multiple entries for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever occurs first. Please ensure that your organization is aware of this new requirement, as failure to register with ESTA will result in travel delays and can result in meeting cancellations or disruptions.