Sunday, September 20, 2009

Important news if traveling to the US

Norwegians are, among citizen from a large number of countries, allowed entry to the US under a visa waiver program. This means that we do not have to apply for a visa, but can stay in the US up to 90 days on a regular passport. Traveling under the visa waiver program means that you will have to fill in several forms that will be shown to airport personnel at entry.

Last year I sat with my pen on the airport and in the aircraft and filled in a visa waiver form and a customs form. From January 2009 the pen is replaced by the ESTA - the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Now you have to register your visa waiver form on your computer, and failing to do so, may mean that you are refused entry into the US. You are advised to register as quickly as possible and at the latest 72 hours prior to departure.

Register at the Official ESTA - the Official US Government website here

ESTA - a great improvement

As the ESTA is completely new, I had forgotten, but registered, thank God, within the 72 hour time limit.

The ESTA system is easy to use, and is most certainly an improvement, even though we still have to fill in our customs form to show what we bring into the country.

Do check your information thoroughly, as information in the form must match information in your traveling documents, i.e. passport and on your ticket.

It took just a moment for the application to be approved. This does not mean, however, that you automatically will be given entry to the US, as you will be scrutinized by US immigration officers at the point of entry.

It is, however, a relief to have registered as my registration at ESTA will be valid until September 2011. This may mean less work in 2010.

More US traveling news 2009

Comfortable transatlantic crossing

Favourable transatlantic air fare available fall 2009

Sky Team Alliance deal makes Schiphol major hub for Norwegian travelers to the US

(Image: US Immigration Officers anno 1924 c/o United States Department of Homeland Security)

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