On May 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release announcing that it will be rolling out a streamlined entry process for individuals entering under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) at U.S. airports this summer. VWP travelers who have properly completed Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) registration prior to their trip will no longer need to complete the paper arrival/departure form (Form I-94W). Presumably, electronically-stored information gained from the ESTA registration process will be accessed by DHS personnel at the time of entry and VWP persons will be provided a pre-printed I-94W form upon admission.
VWP enables nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (B visitor purposes) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. VWP participants must first complete ESTA registration before attempting to enter the United States. ESTA approvals are generally valid for multiple visits for up to two years.
As a separate reminder, the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) is adding a $10 fee that will be collected when VWP travelers complete the required ESTA registration. Collection of the $10 fee is scheduled to begin by early September 2010.