Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to become mandatory January 12, 2009

January 2, 2009

The online Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) becomes mandatory on January 12, 2009. Henceforth, all nationals or citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, including Japan, who plan to travel to the United States for 90 days or less for temporary business or pleasure without a visa, will be required to first request and receive electronic travel authorization via ESTA from the Department of Homeland Security prior to using the VWP to enter the U.S. using a U.S.-bound airplane or cruise ship.

The Embassy recommends that on-line registration take place at least 72 hours before departure, and, in fact, as of January 1, 2009, more than 125,000 Japanese have already registered on-line for ESTA authorization.

A team of U.S. Embassy consular officers and staff will be available to offer assistance to passengers having questions regarding ESTA at Narita Airport (Terminals 1 and 2) on January 12-14, 2009.