Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, Consumer Travel Info
Following a successful seven-month pilot program, the use of paper I-94W forms will be eliminated for VWP travelers with an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) arriving in the United States at all airports by the end of this summer. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will activate automated processing for U.S. airports on a rolling basis over the next several months.
The elimination of the paper I-94W form enables travelers to provide basic biographical, travel and eligibility information automatically through ESTA prior to departure for the United States. The CBP recommends that travelers submit ESTA applications as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, and once approved, will be valid for two years or until the applicant's passport expires.
For more information about ESTA, please visit www.cbp.gov.
The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is reminding U.S.-bound travelers from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) requirement. Beginning Jan. 20, CBP initiated a 60-day transition to enforced ESTA compliance for air carriers; VWP travelers without an approved ESTA may not be allowed to board a U.S.-bound plane. VWP travelers are required to log onto the ESTA Web site and complete an on-line application. The Web-based system prompts applicants to answer basic biographic and eligibility questions typically requested on a paper I-94W form; ESTA is expected to completely replace the paper I-94W in the coming months. The ESTA web site is available in 21 languages: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish. For more information please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Web site.
United, Delta and Continental Raise Baggage Fees
Effective Jan. 12, 2010, Delta and Continental Air Lines have increased their domestic checked baggage fees to $23 for the first bag and to $32 for the second bag when baggage fees are paid for in advance during online check-in. For airport check-in, the baggage fees have increased to $25 for the first bag and to $35 for the second bag.
Effective Jan. 16, 2010, United Airlines has increased its domestic checked baggage fees by $5. For online check-in, the new first bag fee is $20 and the second bag fee is $30. For airport check-in, the first bag fee is $25 and the second bag fee is $35.
U.S. Border Crossing Requirements Have Changed! Simplify your travel checklist!
Effective June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens returning home from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, by land or sea, will be required to present one of the travel documents listed below.
Many of these documents are already available so make sure you're prepared before you leave on your trip.
- U.S. Passport — This is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies a person's identity and nationality. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea.
- U.S. Passport Card — This is a new, limited-use travel document that fits in your wallet and costs less than a U.S. Passport. It is only valid for travel by land and sea.
- Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) — Several states and Canadian provinces are issuing this driver's license or identification document that denotes identity and citizenship. It is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea.
- Trusted Traveler Program Cards — NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST enrollment cards can speed your entry into the U.S. and are issued only to pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The cards are valid for use at land or sea; the NEXUS card can be used in airports with a NEXUS kiosk.
Special Groups — Information for Children, Groups of Children, Native Americans, "Closed Loop" Cruises, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, U.S. Military, Merchant Mariners, Ferries and Small Boats, and Boaters.
Knowing what documents are required and having them ready when you return home will help streamline the entry process and ensure your return to the U.S. is as smooth as possible.
Secure Flight and You
Beginning in mid-2009, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require you to provide your: full name; date of birth; and, gender as shown on the identification document that you plan to present at airport security check-points. Providing this information is not optional and should be presented at the time of booking.
The purpose of collecting this information is to allow TSA to perform terrorist watch list matching that is currently being done by each airline. Failure to provide the required elements in advance could: (1) inhibit your ability to get a boarding pass either at home or at the airport until the information has been provided; and, (2) require you to undergo additional airport security screening.
If you have a name similar to, or the same as, a name on the current terrorist watch list, and have experienced secondary screening at airports, you will have the option of providing your Redress Number at the time of booking to prevent secondary security screening. A Redress Number is a unique number that helps TSA eliminate watch list misidentification. If you encounter watch list misidentifications, you can go to DHSTrip.gov to apply for a Redress Number.
- Contact your travel agent to update your profile with your full name, date of birth and gender. Also provide your Redress Number if you have one.
- You should begin making reservations using your full name and, when applicable, provide your date of birth and gender. All data elements should match exactly the ID you plan to present at the airport. For example, if your state-issued drivers license lists your name as Anthony Q Public, then your reservation must be booked as Anthony Q Public, not Tony Q Public or A. Quinn Public. If your full middle name is on the ID, you must include your full middle name in the reservation.
- Verify your name on your frequent traveler profiles. If you signed up for frequent traveler programs using a nick name or a name other than your name as shown on your identification, you should contact each frequent traveler program to update your name to match Secure Flight's full name requirement. For example, frequent traveler program participant Tony Q Public should update his frequent flyer profiles to Anthony Q Public so that he does not jeopardize receiving credit when traveling under his full name as required by Secure Flight.
- If you use your state-issued ID card for some trips and your passport for other trips, check to see if the names match exactly, as passports often include full middle names and a state issued ID cards may only include a middle initial. If the names do not match exactly, for each trip you must remember to use the name format of the identifying document that you plan to use.
- Be sure to bring your valid government-issued documentation when flying.
- Visit TSA.gov for updates on Secure Flight.