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June 15, 08

NEWS / U.S. Announces Electronic Authorization System for Visa Waiver Travel

3 June 2008

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that, beginning on a voluntary basis in August 2008, travelers using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) may provide certain information electronically before traveling to the United States. The system does not affect those travelers who have obtained a valid visa from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas.

Currently, citizens of VWP countries complete a written form providing basic biographic, travel, and eligibility information while en route to the U.S. Under the electronic system, VWP travelers would provide this information online prior to their departure for the United States.

Once the electronic system becomes mandatory, likely in January 2009, all travelers entering the United States for temporary business or pleasure under the VWP will need to receive an electronic travel authorization prior to boarding a U.S.-bound airplane or cruise ship.

The Government of Australia has a similar program, called the Electronic Travel Authority.




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