As we previously alerted you, as of today, all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers will be required to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA™) to obtain an electronic travel authorization before boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP.
This travel authorization requirement applies only to users of the Visa Waiver Program, which allows nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visitor’s visa.
Please note that visitors who have a visa in their passport (B-1 or B-2 visa holders); other nonimmigrants with visas (such as F-1 students or H, L and O temporary workers); and permanent residents (“green card” holders) do NOT have to obtain an ESTA™ clearance.
Details on how to obtain an ESTA™ clearance are available from our website. We recommend that travelers obtain an ESTA™ clearance no later than 72 hours before traveling; however, the clearance can be obtained any time before traveling. The ESTA™ clearance is valid for a period of up to two years, unless there are changes in the traveler’s identifying information or the traveler’s passport expires. Once an ESTA™ is obtained for one trip, it is possible to update travel information in the system for future trips; updating, however, is not required at this time.
Without an ESTA™ clearance, travelers will need to have a visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas prior to attempting to travel to the U.S., so we advise clients to obtain an ESTA™ clearance as soon as they know they have travel plans for the United States.
If you have any questions regarding travel to the United States, please contact one of the Firm’s attorneys.