From Monday the 12th of January 2009 you need to visit a US Government Department of Homeland Security website to complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorization application.You can find the form here: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/
Seeing as I am off to the states in April, I thought I should pass this one to other Geekzone readers who may be travelling and are unaware of this new requirement under the Visa Waiver programme.
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Comment by chiefie, on 11-Jan-2009 10:42
Yeah well... so much for being a VWP country when you will have to apply for ESTA. Making it not much more different than applying for Visa, except this is an authorization application and "easier" to obtain than full visitor Visa.
Comment by freitasm, on 11-Jan-2009 12:40
This is an "authorisation to travel" and you still need either a visa or a visa waiver application form.
Years ago people used to point to theSoviet Union, with all the bureaucracy and need of papers for internal travel, etc. You can see where the "free world" is going, right?
Comment by adamj, on 11-Jan-2009 15:33
The ESTA is valid for 2 years, so if you are travelling under the VWP more than once in 2 years, you do not have to reapply.
It takes less than 5 minutes and approval is usually instant.
Comment by chiefie, on 11-Jan-2009 16:26
If it was that easy to get within 5mins and for 2 years period and only for VWP countries... then why the hell going through the bureaucracy to have this procedure at all? What does/can it achieve that can't be done while at the immigration stage at the port?
Comment by grant_k, on 11-Jan-2009 22:22
Another excellent reason -- as if I needed any more -- to avoid going to the USA completely. For various reasons, I detest the USA's attitude to what should be valued international visitors. Instead, they are made to feel like criminals.
At present, I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Europe this winter. We have decided to fly Emirates to Dubai, and return via Canada. USA, you suck
Comment by freitasm, on 12-Jan-2009 18:45
Grant_k - even if you don't land in the USA but fly over it you will need to fill the ESTA...