Entry into the USA
The application for entry clearance to the United States of America must be submitted online via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Click here for the official application form ESTA.
Requirements for the issuance of an entry permit
Valid passport, e-mail address, flight information, credit card
The application must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to departure
The application must include personal and passport information for each traveler, as well as a few questions about their personal history. Family members may register relatives (e.g. parents their child), travel agencies can register their customers. You usually obtain the confirmation of the entry permit within a few seconds.
Attention: This entry permit is only valid for the arrival, the actual entry is always decided by the local border officer.
Fees and validity
An ESTA application costs $21. If the entry is denied, a fee of 4$ will be charged. Payment is only possible by credit card (MasterCard, VISA, American Express and Discover).
The entry permit is valid for two years and you can theoretically enter the USA as often as you like. If the passport expires during this period, the validity of the entry permit also expires.
Secure Flight - a TSA program
Secure Flight is a program of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which provides passenger information to the US authorities at an early stage. The goal is to prevent suspicious people from entering the country. This is achieved through an early comparison of the passenger data with the so-called Watch List.
Participation in the program is mandatory for all airlines, which fly internationally to, from or over the USA. This also applies for intra American flights or flights over US territory. Thus, also flights to Canada, the Caribbean and Central America are affectred.
What data must be transmitted and when?
The airlines are legally required to provide the authorities with the Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) 72 hours prior to check-in. In the case of short-term travel, the data should be entered into the PNR and submitted to US authorities at the time of booking or ticketing. In the event of missing or incomplete Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) ticket issuing will not be possible.
The information is entered as an SSR element in the PNR. In the case of missing data, the airline will refuse access to the flight.
The Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) contains the following information:
Full name, analogous to the passport used by the passenger upon entry (including all first names as well).
Date of birth
Redress number*, if available
*A so-called redress number is given to a passenger, if he was listed unjustly on the Watch List.
What else needs to be considered?
After rebooking, the TSA data must be entered once again. The old entries are forfeited. This procedure is necessary for ticketing or reissue.
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