Online Visas for USA - How does it affect Transit Passengers?

Big Pink Bits

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Sep 4, 2002
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This article was in the SMH today - anyone know whether you need to register if you are simply transiting through USA on your way to Canada?

Aussies must now get online visas for US

Travellers from Australia, Japan, western Europe, New Zealand and several other nations must request authorisation on the internet to enter the United States from January, the US Department of Homeland Security says.

These countries are currently exempt from visa requirements to enter the US for short visits under the Visa Waiver Program, and the new program will keep travel to the United States visa free for travellers from VWP countries.

Instead of travellers filling out paper I-94 visa waiver cards en route to the United States, the new measure requires online registration.

In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Thursday that mandatory prior visa authorisation is required for travellers from January 12, 2009.

The service has accepted voluntary visa applications for over two months, since August 1.

"Over 200,000 travellers have sought electronic travel authorisation in the weeks since the site went live, and 99.6 per cent of them have been approved the vast majority in under one minute," said DHS assistant secretary for policy Stewart Baker.

"Obtaining this advance information makes visa-free travel more secure, an enhancement that allows us to expand the valuable Visa Waiver Program."

The new measure is among the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which sought to promote laws that tighten border security in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001.

The DHS recommends that applications are submitted as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans.

Upon authorisation, travellers can enter the United States for 90 days for business or pleasure.

The website is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov

Instructions on how to obtain travel authorisation are available on the website in English and 13 other languages - Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Slovene, Spanish and Swedish.

Citizens of 27 nations - including several EU member states as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Brunei - are covered by the Visa Waiver Program.
 
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try hard

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Feb 4, 2001
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Sydney,Australia
I know that if you go via LA, you have to clear customs, get your bags and generally go to another terminal for connecting flights to Canada for example so I would assume you would have to apply for the Visa waiver, but maybe just check with your travel agent.
 

Born2ski

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Aug 29, 2006
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Big Pink Bits said:
This article was in the SMH today - anyone know whether you need to register if you are simply transiting through USA on your way to Canada?

Yes. There is even a part on the form that refers to transit passengers.
Pretty easy to do, they approved mine straight away. Although it would be a pain is the ar$e if you had a large family because each family member is required to fill one in.
 
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Big Pink Bits

Hard Yards
Sep 4, 2002
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what about if i enter the us in dec, transit to canada, then return via the us late jan? so only my return trip is after the cut off date - do i still need to register?
 
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