US Green Waiver Form to Become Electronic
US to drop green visa waiver form next year
By TTM on 21 June 2008 in News
Brits and nationals from 27 other countries that have signed up to the US waiver programme travelling to the Us currently need to fill in a green visa waiver form. This is handed out be cabin crew on the airplane during the flight. Part of this form is given in on arrival into the Us and the other part is retained by airport security staff on departure from the US. Should a traveller find they are still in possesion of this form when they get home, they should post it to the US authorities with an accompanying letter proving they have left the US.
All of this is to change next year. From January 12 2009, the green form is being replaced by an eletronic system, which will require travellers to fill in a form before they fly.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) forms are available online at esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Travellers who do not fill in the forms will be barred from boarding an aircraft or vessel bound for the US.
The form requires similar information to that currently requested by the green form: details of criminal records, communicable diseases, history of visa revocation or deportation and personal details such as name, birth date and passport number.
The US authorities say the new system is simpler: Once filled in, the data is kept on record for two years, so subsequent visits within that time do not require more online form filling.
It is also intended also tighten security: "Getting this information in advance enables our front-line personnel to determine whether a visa-free traveler presents a threat before boarding an aircraft or arriving on our shores," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Those travellers without internet access should ask their travel agent to fill in the form under their instruction, according to the US Homeland Security.
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