WASHINGTON (CN) – Aliens who want to travel to the United States by sea or air without a visa must register information with U.S. Customs.
Currently, a paper form goes with travelers onto the plane or boat, but a regulation implementing the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, makes it so risks can be evaluated before departure. The United States can still send an alien home, upon arrival, however, since an authorization under ESTA is not a determination that the alien is admissible to the United States.
Once the ESTA is mandatory, in approximately January 2009, all Visa Waiver Program travelers must either obtain travel authorization in advance of travel under the ESTA, or obtain a visa.
It is hoped this action will reduce traveler delays upon arrival at U.S. ports of entry.