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International Registration E.S.T.A. Here!


Houston Airport System
February 20, 2010



© Houston Airport System
The March 21 deadline could impact guests from 35 different countries
With spring right around the corner, an important deadline looms for international travelers.

Citizens from 35 countries could be barred from boarding U.S. bound flights, starting on March 21 if they don’t register online before flying.

So, if you’re expecting family, friends or business travelers from abroad, now is the time to remind them to enroll in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program.

According to the Homeland Security Department, the government hopes that registration will flag visitors with criminal records or immigration problems before they enter the United States.

The registration requirements affect dozens of countries (see list below), and is especially important at airport facilities where large number of international travelers are processed through the U.S. Customs and
Border Protection (CBP).

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) certainly falls into that category, with approximately 715,000 international passengers passing through the facility in 2009 alone.

“Effective aviation security relies upon close coordination between airlines, government and law enforcement to identify, deter and disrupt threats,” said Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “I am committed to working closely with the airline industry and my international counterparts to strengthen global aviation security standards for passengers traveling to the United States and around the world.”

Travelers from all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries are also required to obtain approval through ESTA prior to traveling to the United States. This requirement, applies to all eligible citizens or nationals traveling
under the VWP.

ESTA is a web-based system initially launched in August 2008, which determines the preliminary eligibility of visitors to travel under the VWP prior to boarding a plane to the United States. To date, more than 1.2 million ESTA applications have been received, and more than 99.6 percent of applicants have been approved, most
within seconds.

CBP figures show about 91 percent of the people flying to the U.S. without visas, had enrolled online. Even with that compliance rate, travel-industry groups note that more than 4,000 people a day had not.

Congress mandated the registration program in 2007, and CBP launched it one year ago. The online form asks biographical information and background questions and it can be completed a few hours before boarding. For additional information on ESTA, visit www.cbp.gov/esta.

The countries impacted by the ESTA Program are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Copyright © 2010 - Houston Airport System

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