Monday, January 12, 2009

Travelers to U.S. Now Required to Register Online With Homeland Security

Stephanie Condon writes on C|Net News:

Starting Monday, travelers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Australia, and a host of other countries will have to register online with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before they can travel into the United States.

As part of its efforts to use technology to improve border security, the DHS is mandating that travelers from any of the 35 countries in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program apply online for an Electronic System of Travel Authorization before boarding a plane to the U.S. Previously, visitors from those countries were only required to fill out the I-94W form on flights to the U.S. for trips shorter than 90 days.

The ESTA applications collect the same information as the I-94W form and check it against DHS databases to determine whether a traveler poses a law enforcement or security risk. That information includes biographical data like birth date and passport information, as well as information regarding communicable diseases, arrests, convictions for certain crimes, and mental disorders that spur behavior that may pose a threat to others.

More here.


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