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USA Visa Waiver Program (VWP) expansion – Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

18 November 2008

Effective 17 November 2008, nationals of Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic are eligible to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA approval is mandatory and the traveller must also hold an e-Passport (containing an electronic chip).

Application can be submitted on the ESTA Website.

The airline needs to ensure the passenger has a valid ESTA, however if they are not able to do so, the traveller still needs to complete I-94W form. In the event that the passenger is refused an ESTA, they are not eligible to enter the US under the VWP, and will be referred to the US Department of State travel section for information on how to apply for a visa to travel to the US.

Although ESTA approval authorizes travel to the US, it does not guarantee admissibility; this will be determined by a US Customs and Border Protect (CBP) officer at ports of entry or pre-clearance facilities.