Visa Waiver Travel Authorization Required Before Travel to the U.S.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that, beginning January 12, 2009, all nonimmigrant aliens traveling to the United States under the established Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must obtain an approved travel authorization from the Department's Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Countries affected by this rule are Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.

The Visa Waiver Program was extended on November 17, 2008 to also include Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and South Korea. For citizens and nationals of the newly expanded VWP countries, ESTA becomes effective November 17, 2008, not January 12, 2009.

To comply with ESTA, VWP travelers must provide electronically to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the information currently collected on the I-94W Nonimmigrant Alien Arrival/Departure (Form I-94W) through the CBP ESTA Web site and receive authorization to travel before embarking on travel to the United States. To apply for ESTA Travel Authorization, go to: