All visitors to the USA arriving on/or after 12 January 2009 (regardless of when airline tickets were booked or purchased) MUST supply certain information online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) if they wish to enter the USA using the current Visa Waiver Program (the alternative is to obtain a visa form the US Embassy).
ESTA is operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and can be found on this link - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov.
With effect from 8 September 2010, all ESTA applications will be subject to a fee of $14.
One benefit of ESTA is that you will no longer have to complete the current I-94 form every time you enter the US. We strongly recommend that you complete the online ESTA process as soon as you have booked (and at least minimum of 72 hours before departure) because in the unlikely event that you do not receive an ESTA approval for travel, you will need to apply directly to the US Embassy for a visa.
An approved travel authorisation is valid for 2 years for multiple entries into the US although a new application will have to be made if a new passport is obtained within the two year period or if the answers to any of the YES/NO questions on the ESTA form change.
In addition, The United States Customs and Border Protection require all airlines to collect and transmit certain passenger information prior to departure, using their Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS). The information required includes your country of residence, the full address (including the zip/postal code) for your first night's accommodation in the US.
Please provide this information to Sterling Travel Management at the point of booking to ensure that you do not encounter any unnecessary delays at the airport.
For more information please visit the ESTA Q&A page or call us on 023 8033 0111.