Beginning Jan. 12, 2009, a new online registration system will replace paper forms some foreign visitors are required to fill out upon arrival at U.S. airports and seaports. Called the Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA), the online form is free to use and valid for all U.S. trips within a two-year period, unless the traveler’s passport expires before then. The security screening service is only available to foreign nationals of the 27 countries whose citizens are not required to obtain visas for U.S. entry, including Norway, Japan, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and European Union countries.
Travelers are encouraged to apply at least 72 hours before departure. After Jan. 12, foreign passengers for whom the visa requirement is waived will not be allowed to board a flight or a cruise to the U.S. without an ESTA. Preview the Web Tool here.