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Author Topic: Change to visa waiver program  (Read 4144 times)

Tom

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Change to visa waiver program
« on: June 26, 2009, 01:04:30 PM »
An important message from the Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection web site, for folks planning to visit the U.S. using the Visa Waiver program:

Effective July 1, 2009, all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) emergency or temporary passports must be electronic passports (e-Passports) to be eligible for travel to the United States under the VWP. This includes VWP applicants who present emergency or temporary passports to transit the United States. An e-Passport contains an integrated chip that stores biographic data, a digitized photograph, and other information about the true bearer ....

Click here to read more.

e-Passports do not appear to be a requirement for folks with B1 &/or B2 visas.
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Jeff

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Re: Change to visa waiver program
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2009, 01:35:57 PM »
Sounds like another deadline that will have to be pushed back!

Tom

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Re: Change to visa waiver program
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2009, 02:37:12 PM »
Who knows Jeff. It's best that visitors come prepared rather than think it will be moved back and then find, on arrival, that they're denied entry. That would sure put a damper on their vacation. OTOH folks coming for durations of greater than 90 days won't be affected because they're not eligible to use the visa waiver program, and will likely have a B1 &/or B2 visa in their passport. According to the CBP web site, B1/B2 visa holders will be exempt from the e-passport requirement.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 02:39:23 PM by Tom »
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macmac

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Re: Change to visa waiver program
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2009, 04:31:00 PM »
An important message from the Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection web site, for folks planning to visit the U.S. using the Visa Waiver program:

Effective July 1, 2009, all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) emergency or temporary passports must be electronic passports (e-Passports) to be eligible for travel to the United States under the VWP. This includes VWP applicants who present emergency or temporary passports to transit the United States. An e-Passport contains an integrated chip that stores biographic data, a digitized photograph, and other information about the true bearer ....

Click here to read more.



e-Passports do not appear to be a requirement for folks with B1 &/or B2 visas.



Interesting piece, Tom.  Hadn't realised that electronic passports were going to be needed so soon - goodness knows how many regular holidaymakers will be unaware of this.... ??? 

I had thought I'd read that the new ones would progressively replace the old ones when renewed - we'll see.

Keith

Tom

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Re: Change to visa waiver program
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2009, 06:02:08 PM »
Keith,

I'd expect the airlines to check that folks have the "right" passport when they check in, otherwise they might have to take a lot of folks home much sooner than planned.
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macmac

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Re: Change to visa waiver program
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2009, 06:58:51 AM »
Keith,

I'd expect the airlines to check that folks have the "right" passport when they check in, otherwise they might have to take a lot of folks home much sooner than planned.

Hi Tom

Yes that's a good point.  Much of the responsibility will fall on the airlines / holiday tour firms to police the new regulations....

Keith

RVOA

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Re: Change to visa waiver program
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2009, 12:29:49 PM »

Tom,

The link you gave relates to "emergency" type visas, which I think are few and far between.

The biggest problem now is that "normal" visitors to the USA must complete an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation form) online before visiting the US.

That makes it incredibly difficult for the older generation to visit the US as many aren't computer literate - and many more wont get involved with the WWW. Apparently, Homeland Security were asked about the problem and their reply was "For those who donít have access to the Internet, itís best to contact a friend, family member, colleague or travel agent who is online. Any of those folks are able to fill out the ESTA form on behalf of the traveller."

Maybe Homeland Security have identified that seniors who dont like the internet are more prone to partake in terrorist activity  ::)

Previously, an I-94 (commonly thought of as the Visa Waiver form) would be completed on the plane and handed in at border control.

Now, you have to visit HERE and complete the online forms.

It really does seem like "using a jack-hammer to crack a nut" mentality.

Nobody wants to see another 9/11 but making it increasingly difficult for the honest traveller will do nothing to improve the image of the US..

I love the USA and thoroughly enjoyed our tour over there but I have to admit that all the hassle does put me off.

Paul


 
Paul

RV Owners Association (UK)
www.rvoa.co.uk

Tom

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Re: Change to visa waiver program
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2009, 01:08:37 PM »
You may be right Paul, although it could have been read both ways. I was fist given a heads up by reading the web site of a top notch immigration law firm, but may have misread it.

Quote
Previously, an I-94 (commonly thought of as the Visa Waiver form)

For clarification, the I-94 (white form) is merely an arrival/departure form, and was never considered a visa waiver. It's always had to be completed and handed to the customs/border official irrespective which visa you have. I believe you may be referring to the I-94W (green form). More info:  I-94 and I-94W.

Our recent visitors from the UK thought that ESTA was a piece of cake. If we had non-computer literate friends or relatives visiting we'd either complete it for them, or have another relative in the UK do it.

For folks reading along, here's a link to ESTA facts sheet in several languages.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 01:34:55 PM by Tom »
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Elly Dalmaijer

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Re: Change to visa waiver program
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2009, 05:10:27 PM »
Two years ago I acquired my Canadian citizenship. Until that time I traveled on my Dutch passport. First I had an "Indefinite Entry Permit" stamped in my passport until that one way was cancelled at the border. Then came the green visa waiver forms (get out of the car. Go inside. Wait a long time until someone helps. Complete the form. Wait until someone helps. Pay money. )
Next in addition to the visa waiver I had to get my two fingers scanned.O yes, PLUS they made a picture of  my iris. Then that was upgraded to getting all my ten fingers scanned plus my two eyes.  Then I became a Canadian citizen, show my passport, answer the questions and that's it.

Last week I crossed the border into the USA and the question was "What was the last time that you were arrested or finger printed."  Note the "last time"...mmm... that begged for a funny answer but I know that "funny" and "custom officer" do not go together well. I thought of all the times I had been arrested. None came to mind. Then I thought of all the times I had been finger printed and I volunteered that this very border post had finger printed me many times because of my Dutch passport.  That was the right answer. I was allowed to enter the USA with my Canadian passport.  I hate to think what it would have been like to try enter with my Dutch passport.

Elly
Either at home in St Albert AB or working in Africa or in our 1993 Itasca Sunrise.

 

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