ESTA is Live

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Visitors to the United States have been used to filling in a I-94 green form which was required by passport control. For the last year they have been trialling the electronic version of this which goes under the name of ESTA. This system will replace the green form in March so it is essential that if you plan to holiday in the US you complete this electronic form before you board your flight. Failure to complete the form means that you will not be allowed to enter the US.
It doesn’t cost anything to obtain this form and enter the US but watch out for some websites which may try and convince you to let them complete the form for you at a fee. There is no need and the only website you need to visit is the official site, Once you have completed the form, it allows entry into the US on multiple occasions for the next 2 years. But you need to update the form every time you travel as they require you to put in your new flight details and where you will be staying each time.
Yesterday I was due to fly to New York but my flight was cancelled due to the snow that closed the airports there. So I was put on another flight to my next destination, Las Vegas where, incidentally, I was going for the huge Travel Goods Show. This meant though that I had to get into the ESTA system and change my details so that it was up-to-date with new flight details and hotel address. The question arises as to what would happen if I didn’t have computer access and couldn’t update the form? Officials told me that, given the circumstances, this would not cause a problem at the moment! No doubt they are still getting the final bugs out of the system.
If you need to change your details of go more than once during the 2 year period, you need to remember your application number so that you can get back into the system. Without this number you will have to register again (and I suspect this is what many people will do). The application number is 16 digits long, a mixture of numbers and letters and therefore is not very memorable so you will need to keep a copy. Ad it might be an idea to take a copy with you just in case. there is still some confusion in the minds of some cabin crew staff.

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