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Entry Requirements to U.S. are Revised

By Linda Tancs

Of course, not all travelers to the U.S. need visas. Currently, 35 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. What is new, however, is that nationals of these countries must now apply for authorization to enter the U.S. at least 72 hours before flight departure. Prior to this year, the authorization program (known as ESTA) was voluntary. The application for authorization can be found here.
Visitors should also note that certain passport requirements are in effect as well. For instance, passports issued on or after October 26, 2006 should be e-passports, characterized by a circular symbol on the bottom of the front cover, or else you’ll require a visa. If you’re lacking an e-passport, then, in some cases, you can still travel without a visa if your passport was issued prior to October 26, 2005 and contains a machine-readable zone or a digital photo. A machine-readable passport has two lines of text as letters, numbers and the(<<<) symbol at the bottom of the personal information page, along with your picture. Check your passport today!

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[…] of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007) known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), previously reported on this blog.  However, that little program could take a big bite out of your travel plans if you […]


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