Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Access System for US Visits

Whilst not entirely relevant to inbound travel one of the Board members has asked us to highlight the new Travel Authorisation forms required to be completed prior to entry to the United States, as it will impact on any members visiting the US for business purposes.

An article in The Telegraph states that travel groups in the United States fear that the new entry regulations will put travellers off from visiting the country. The US Travel Association, the Washington-based non-profit organisation which represents all sectors of the travel industry, aims to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. But it warned today that the new Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) forms, which replace the I-94W forms used by countries with a visa-waiver agreement, have been poorly communicated and do not take into account those people who are not computer-literate. The forms must be completed by British travellers at least 72 hours before departure.

"America’s travel community supports the ESTA for its potential to improve security and increase convenience for travellers from visa waiver countries,” said Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive of the US Travel Association. “However, we are concerned that many of those who must comply with ESTA are not aware of it, do not fully understand what it is, or may be turned away at airports for non-compliance if the new requirements are fully enforced.

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