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ESTA Electronic System for Travel Authorization

ESTA Electronic System for Travel Authorization

Jun 24th, 2009, 11:01 AM
  #1  
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ESTA Electronic System for Travel Authorization

I travel regularly from St Martin (SXM) to the USA andI carry a British passport. Some while ago I submitted, electronically, an application form to the US Department of Homeland Security in order to obtain a document which would eliminate the neccessity for me to complete a 'Visa Waiver' each time I entered the US. I duly received from the DHS the 'Authorization Approval' - which I carry with me at all times - however I am always told that I still have to complete the 'Visa Waiver' as before. Does anyone know why this is so ? It would seem that it was a complete waste of time applying for the 'Authorization' from the Department of Homeland Security.
DavidSXM is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 11:36 AM
  #2  
 
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International travelers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are now subject to enhanced security requirements. All eligible travelers who wish to travel under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 11:45 AM
  #3  
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That is PRECISELY what I did, and understood at the time that - once I received the Authorization (which I have) - I would no longer be obliged to complete the Visa Waiver form. The question I am asking is 'Why do I still have to do so ?'
DavidSXM is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 11:49 AM
  #4  
 
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Because now you MUST get the authorization in order to continue using the Visa Waiver, so it's not like one eliminates the need for the other, it's because now you need both. Think of it as an additional step in the whole process.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 02:23 AM
  #5  
 
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The US can't decide whether it's incompetent or just plain lying over this.

The US Embassy in London claims it's incompetent. "Approval to travel under ESTA will eventually eliminate the requirement that the traveler complete the I-94W form." their website says. Which means their IT people lack the simple ability that - for instance - the Australians have to ensure all their border points can access the ESTA authorisations. But they'll get it some day, the embassy says. About the same time the Dreamliner flies, probably.

They've told the UK press that there are technical problems, but that the pointless form will be eliminated sooner or later.

However, the Homeland Security people have stopped claiming they'll ever eliminate the I-94W - meaning AAFF's explanation is the accurate one and the London Embassy are just telling porkies.

Which is true? Bluntly, who cares?

Thre's no lobby in the US for eliminating unnecessary discourtesy to visitors, and no tradition of expecting anything other than bullshit from public servants. Sooner or later, someone will claim it's all tha Commie Obama's fault and someone else will say it's all because George Bush forced the American people (who were all passionately opposed) into a war in Iraq - and no-one ever voted for him anyway.

In the meantime, more and more of us will restrict our travelling only to those countries that have learned some manners.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 02:53 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for your response, however when I applied for (and recived) the neccessary document - many months ago - the ESTA website clearly stated the following :

'The green form (Form I-94W)will SOON be 'REPLACED COMPLETELY' by the new ESTA requirement. However, visa waiver visitors should expect to complete BOTH the ESTA application and Form I-94W FOR THE TIME BEING'. The capitals are MINE - not in the ESTA website !

Quite clearly if is the intention of the DHS to REPLACE Form I-94W - but WHEN ?

What I am seeking is a clarification of what is meant by the words 'SOON' and 'FOR THE TIME BEING'.

Can anyone please assist !!
DavidSXM is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 03:03 AM
  #7  
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Thank you flanneruk. That explains the situation very clearly ! My previous response was intended for AAFrequentFlyer. I assume it is safe to say "don't hold your breath" but just carry yet another piece of unnecessary paper when you travel - in case the DHS does get it's act together but just doesn't bother to inform anyone ! Maybe an e-mail to Obama would help !!
DavidSXM is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 05:13 AM
  #8  
 
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Far be it from me to defend the way our country treats its international visitors upon their arrival, and I'm not doing that now. I have to ask this though: How long does it take you to fill out the I-94W form? Two minutes?

Is it the time that's your complaint here? Is it the content of the form? (I do you that you have to declare that you've never been involved in espionage or genocide, for example.)
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 06:34 AM
  #9  
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Hi Jeff. I am unimpressed by being obliged to complete an apparently useless form (which, just in case, I carry with me anyway when I travel).

I still have to complete the 'old' Form I-94W - as I must have done more than 250 times at least over the years - answering all the questions truthfully, I might add !!

My gripe is NOT about having to complete the form each time I visit the US (though it is a pain in the ass to do so, and nobody in their right mind completing it would answer 'yes' to the incriminating questions anyway !) but rather that some bright character in the DHS created, what purported to be a logical replacement of the I-94W, and misrepresented the fact that it WOULD 'REPLACE' the original form. It really is a shame that they can't get their act together, or figure out how to write an appropriate, and functioning, computer program before demanding that the Application be submitted. It would be interesting to know what this abortive - and no doubt expensive - exercise has achieved apart from keeping some over paid federal employee in a job !!
DavidSXM is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 07:50 AM
  #10  
 
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In principle, I agree with everything you say, David. Maybe eventually this changeover will happen. I believe in choosing my battles though. This wouldn't be one of them for me. That's all.

If there is indeed going to be a changeover to an exclusively new system, wouldn't it make sense to have that system entirely in place at every border entry post and then stop requiring the forms to be filled out? Wouldn't that have to be a gradual process? Just grasping at possible rationales here ...
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 08:12 AM
  #11  
TC
 
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I'm certain that the US Gov. just had a bunch of extra cash laying around and decided to use it to implement a program for the amusement of foriegn travelers. What do you figure the cost of this "new" authorization program to be? O.K. so it is now and will most likely always be useless, but what would you talk to fellow travelers about while standing on-line in Customs and Imigration if not this? I think you are being quite ungrateful, David
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Jun 25th, 2009, 08:39 AM
  #12  
 
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If there is indeed going to be a changeover to an exclusively new system, wouldn't it make sense to have that system entirely in place at every border entry post and then stop requiring the forms to be filled out? Wouldn't that have to be a gradual process? Just grasping at possible rationales here,

I believe you hit the nail on the head...

If not all the stations are ready then it would create more confusion and even more complaints. Imagine somebody with the authorization flying into an airport that is not ready yet and after waiting in line for 20 minutes finds out that they must go back to the table where the forms are, fill out the Visa Waiver form and then wait again.

Until all the stations are ready, and that is not limited to new software only, but also involves retraining the agents, testing the system as they hook up more and more stations, etc., it's best to keep the old ways across the entire system. Hopefully the bureaucrats get their s..t together soon and get it all done within reasonable time frame.

The authorization program was probably started early just so HS can keep on testing the system as it gets implemented.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 15th, 2011, 08:12 AM
  #13  
 
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Hi
I am very concerned about ESTA - I went on line as my approval authorisation is due to run out in July and wanted to renew it.
The day after I received an email telling me I had been awarded a Permanent Resident Card through the Diversity Visa system. As I had just been on what I considered a safe site, I figured this to be official.
After spending hours on the phone to Immigration in USA, I was told that they are aware of this scam - obviously someone is getting contact info from a Govt. Website and targeting folks who want to come and live in USA
VERY SCARY
Bev
Beverly_Kingshott is offline  

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