REMINDER: ESTA SHOULD BE APPLIED 72 H EARLIER
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made major changes in granting permission for holidaymakers and business travellers commuting to America at a time when the Christmas travel rush has started.
Only with a valid ESTA (the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) a visa-free travel is granted where as the US authorities the applications should be made three days in advance.
Earlier travellers had their ESTA granted instantly and included passengers turning up at the airport without permit. However, the official website now warns that ESTA should be applied no later than 72 hours before departing for the United States.
It stated- Real-time approvals will no longer be available and arriving at the airport without a previously approved ESTA will likely result in being denied boarding.
The DHS further warns that a valid ESTA will not guarantee admission to the US and after arrival in the United States there will be inspections by a Customs and Border Protection officer at a port of entry who may determine that if someone is inadmissible.
The DHS had added two years ago a question to the online form seeking details of the applicant’s social media activities. The optional request is to recognize potential threats deception or fraud along with validating legitimate travel.
For those applicant having no social media account the ESTA application could still be submitted without having any negative interference.
ETIAS will be required for British travellers to Europe post Brexit and travel from or within the US over Christmas and New Year is expected to have string security measures.
Around 41 million passengers are expected to travel through US security screening checkpoints nationwide between 19 December to 5 January. This is 6 per cent up from last year.