The American Department of Homeland Security has laid down a law that all airlines are obliged to send personal details of their passengers on flights to the US to the American border authorities. To comply with this law as passengers to the US, you must state the address, post code, state and telephone number of your first overnight stay in the US when checking in. Please note that this information is vital if you are to be admitted to the US by the American border authorities. Information about you is treated confidentially and not used for commercial purposes. Click here for further information.
International passengers who want to travel to the United States of America on the Visa Waiver Program have to comply with extensive security measures. ESTA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, replaces the current method (filling in a Visa Waiver Program form on board the aircraft). Airlines are heavily fined for passengers travelling without a valid ESTA declaration. Anyone who does not have a valid ESTA declaration will definitely be refused admission to the flight by the airline. An application costs $14.
The following countries are eligible to take part in the Visa Waiver Program and ESTA:
Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
All eligible passengers must apply for authorisation using the following procedure, which consists of four stages:
- fill in the application
- send off the application
- receive the application number and save it
- receive a reply to the application
Click here for further information.
You are advised to apply for authorisation at least 72 hours prior to departure.
Advice from the ANVR (General Dutch Association of Travel Agents) regarding ESTA is as follows:
“As of 12 January 2009, you are obliged to obtain electronic travel authorisation via the ESTA Electronic System for Travel Authorisation before you can board an aircraft or ship to the US. For an online application, you can visit the ESTA website . The questions asked are similar to those on the current I-94 arrival/departure form, which must be completed at present for arrivals in the US. We recommend that you submit the application in good time (at least 3 days prior to departure). We advise you to take a copy of the ESTA authorisation with you when you check in. In most cases, ESTA gives immediate authorisation after you have filled in the information requested, but in some cases it may take up to 3 days. If authorisation is not given, you should apply for a visa through the American Embassy.
The authorisation is valid for a maximum period of 2 years or until the date on which your passport expires, unless authorisation is revoked earlier. You must update details concerning residential address, flight number etc. for each journey.
If you have not applied for, and obtained authorisation to travel in advance via ESTA, you run the risk of experiencing delays at the arrival airport in the US. In the worst case scenario, you may even be refused entry”.
APIS – Advanced Passenger Information System
Passengers travelling to certain countries are obliged to provide extra personal information prior to departure. The following details should be stated in advance:
- date of birth
- passport number
- country in which the passport was issued
- passport expiry date
Passengers can pass on the necessary information in advance to ATPI Corporate Travel or provide it themselves when they check in. In order to avoid lengthy waiting times when checking in, it is recommended that these details be passed on to ATPI Corporate Travel in advance. The APIS procedure currently applies to the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates
- United States (see also ESTA)