View Full Version : Quick ESTA question.

09-29-2009, 06:19 AM
I completed ESTAs successfully for my family a few weeks ago. I printed the confirmations off (though I read somewhere this was unnecessary), so I guess I'm all set.
What I'm unsure of is when this data is checked/confirmed during the journey. On the VA website, there are the APIS details (which I know are unrelated to ESTA), but there is no ESTA section there. Does it get checked at check-in? Also upon arrival at US immigration, does the system there automatically have the ESTA details?
I'm sure everything is fine, but it all just seems a little bit vague :confused3

09-29-2009, 06:38 AM
We've just got back and we weren't asked anything about ESTA- I'm guessing if you have been aprroved, it shows up on the computer when they check your passport upon arrival. I agree that it's a little vague but as long as you've completed ESTA, API and the green form (on the plane), you'll be fine.

09-29-2009, 07:01 AM
That appears to be true. We were also not asked for the ESTA forms. They suggest that you print them out if you can from your computer and take them with you, which we did. However, they also tell you somewhere else (if you have copious free time on your hands to read through all the info on the website) that it is not mandatory to have the paper with you if you don't have access to a printer, or something like that. Basically, the whole thing is done electronically (hence the name) and the information is passed through to the system in the US. It also has to correspond with the info you used to have to provide on paper, i.e. address for first night's stay etc. This then all links up to your passport number when this is scanned at customs. It is pretty much plain sailing. All you have to do is go through the online process and print the page for each person travelling in your party. If it makes you feel any better, this system was rolled out in January this year and there have been few, if any problems with it. I think the only hassle you could end up having is actually NOT completing the ESTA or leaving it too late to make the 72 hour window (or something like that) before you leave.

ford family
09-29-2009, 07:11 AM
The flight information and where you are staying are not a requirement for ESTA. Those details are collected by the airline and forwarded to US Homeland Security and Immigration before the flight leaves.
I understand that there are no current plans to suspend the completing of the green I94s. I get the impression that the whole exercise was an idea whose time hasn't arrived yet.
Some friends arrived in the US last month having forgotten to do their ESTAs. No big deal, it was suggested they complete them for future travel but were processed normally.

ford family

09-29-2009, 12:58 PM
The idea of ESTA is that it is permission to travel to the USA and so it will be checked when you check-in. Virgin have already started doing this on some routes (Las Vegas I think). It is all linked to your passport so, in theory, you never need to produce anything because as soon as your passport is scanned it will show whether you have a valid ESTA number, or not.

09-29-2009, 02:59 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'll take my printouts along just in case :thumbsup2
I guess it's all a bit new in implementation - if the airlines are going to check before you fly, then I guess they will link up the ESTAs to the booking, like the API data. I suppose it would be reassuring to look at your flight booking and see your ESTA confirmed on it.