In 2008, the United States of America introduced an Electronic System for Travel Authorization via their Department of Homeland Security. This system for travel authorization, also known as ESTA, becomes relevant to all individuals traveling to the United States using the Visa Waiver Program. If you obtained an electronic travel authorization before boarding any air or sea carrier to the United States of America, the ESTA system does not guarantee admissibility to the USA but rather allows the traveler to board a carrier heading to the USA. This article will provide more information on the United State’s ESTA program.
In August 2008 the USA Esta become available to the average traveler, but it was not until January 2009 that it was enforced. The main aim of this system was to ensure that all travelers on the program obtain prior authorization via the ESTA before heading to the United States of America. This is regardless of whether authorization depends on the traveler seeking admission based on the country of their nationality and not the country of their embarkation.
To obtain valid travel authorization through the ESTA program, it is necessary for travelers to visit the USA’s official website. At this point, the traveler will be prompted to provide passport information and complete a biography by answering a series of questions as found on the form 1-94W. The questions include the following:
– do you have a physical or mental disorder, a communicable disease, or are you a drug abuser?
– have you been arrested or convicted for a crime or offense involving a violation related to a controlled substance?
– have you been arrested or convicted for two or more offenses where the aggregate sentence for confinement was five or more years?
– have you ever been excluded and deported?
– have you been denied a US visa or denied entry into the US?
– have you asserted immunity from prosecution?
– have you retained or withheld custody of a child from a US citizen?
Contrary to popular belief, not all convictions and arrests need to be disclosed. When completing these forms, it is only necessary to reveal information on convictions and arrests involving controlled substances or moral turpitude. When revealing these crimes, making contact with the US Embassy about the arrests or convictions is highly discouraged. In these situations, it is recommended that you consult an immigration attorney before submitting application for the USA Esta visa waiver program.…