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Changes to ESTA Website May Affect Travel to the US

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States without a visa and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk. The UK is one of the countries that participates in the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) which allows people from eligible countries to travel to the US for business or pleasure, for stays of 90 days or less, without obtaining a visa.

The ESTA website was updated on August 5, 2019 and ESTA applications that were in a 'pending payment' status at the time of the update have been archived. Thus applicants impacted will have to reapply. The website advises people travelling to the United States from participating VWP countries to apply for an ESTA at the time of booking and no later than 72 hours prior to departure. It costs £11 and tourists from the UK must apply for an ESTA even if they are only passing through a US airport.

Approved ESTA applications are valid for a period of two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first, and holders are able to travel to the USA multiple times within that period without having to re-apply for another ESTA. A new ESTA authorisation is required however if someone is issued with a new passport or has changed their first and/or last name.

Full details on official site at: esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

Related News: usa

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Date Published:
17th August 2019


David Betterton
David Betterton FInstTT

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