Successful Japanese ESTA Applications Top 1 Million

May 29, 2009

As of May 27, 2009, more than 1 million* Japanese travelers planning to go to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) have applied for and received authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

Japan is second among the 35 Visa Waiver Program countries in the total number of its citizens having registered for ESTA prior to traveling to the United States. Japan ranks first in ESTA compliance at U.S. ports of entry with an average rate of close to 97 percent in the period of May 1-27. ESTA became mandatory on January 12, 2009 for all nationals or citizens of VWP countries who plan to board a U.S.-bound airplane or cruise ship to travel to the United States for 90 days or less for temporary business or pleasure under the VWP.

As the Embassy has consistently informed travelers and as the ESTA website makes clear, ESTA is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the ESTA application is free. VWP travelers should be aware that unauthorized third-parties have established websites which charge visitors seeking to travel to the U.S. under the VWP for submitting ESTA applications to DHS on behalf of the traveler. These businesses and websites are not endorsed by, associated with, or affiliated in any way with DHS or the U.S. Government. Use of a private service to apply for travel authorization via ESTA will not expedite the granting of approval.

For more information on ESTA, please visit this online page.