New U.S.A. travel authorization effective 12 Jan 2009

In a September 2008 post, I had blogged about the upcoming Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which will go into effect on 12 Jan 2009.

As of now, visitors to the U.S.A. are able to enter the country without a visa. As of 12 Jan 09, entry into the United States will only be possible with this electronic travel authorization.

Passengers need to apply at least 72 hours in advance through the internet at esta application. The authorization will also be granted through the internet. Applications are available in English as well as in German. It is advisable to carry a printout of the authorization on you at time of travel.

In case your travel authorization application gets rejected, you will not be able to board the flight and you need to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate.

This procedure is mandatory for all passengers entering the United States via air or sea port (this also applies to transit stopovers).

Travelers, entering the U.S. by way of land from Canada or Mexico, are exempt from this rule.


  1. It is interesting that when you access that site, the first information you have to confirm is that “There is no expectation of privacy when you use this computer system. The use of a password […] does not establish an expectation of privacy”.

    That’s an interesting way of avoiding any data protection!

    But even more interesting is the catch 22 situation regarding flight and hotel details. They expect me to enter this (OK, it’s not a required field…), so they expect me to book my flight and hotel, and _then_ ask for permission to enter the country??? What happens if they turn me down, are the airlines/hotels required to give me a refund?

  2. In the past, passengers could be refused entry upon arrival in the U.S.A. and were put on the next flight back.
    Modern convenience lets us know early whether we get rejected or not….

    This is a real “iffy” when it comes to booking your flight. I guess some will have to sweat it out until this authorization gets confirmed.

    As far as the liability is concerned — good question.

  3. so if Mexican or Canadian enter US by land no need to have ESTA or Visa or maybe a passport? just confuse.


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