May 26, 2010
DHS Implements Electronic
System, Eliminates Paper I-94W for Visa Waiver Program
Department of Homeland
Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on May 20 that travelers
from nations participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) will no
longer be required to utilize the paper arrival/departure form (Form
I-94W) to travel to the United States.
The paper-based system
will be replaced by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization
(ESTA), an electronic system which will require travelers to provide
basic biographical, travel and eligibility information prior to travel.
ESTA is intended to improve national security by allowing information to
be verified prior to travel, provide convenience for visitors by
preventing the need to repeatedly provide duplicate information, and
better protect privacy by storing all information electronically on
Customs and Border
Patrol recommends that travelers submit ESTA applications as soon as
they begin making travel plans. Applications may be submitted any time
prior to travel and will remain valid for two years after approval, or
until the applicant’s passport expires.
The Visa Waiver Program
currently enables travelers from 36 participating countries to travel to
the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.
The press release for
this announcement is available on the