Travel.State.Gov > U.S. Visas > DHS Announces Implementation of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Travelers
WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today implementation of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which will begin to accept voluntary ESTA applications starting on August 1, 2008.
ESTA is a new fully automated, electronic system for screening passengers before they begin travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States, and VWP travelers are encouraged to apply for authorization as soon as they begin to plan a trip to the United States. It is anticipated that ESTA will become mandatory for VWP travelers on January 12, 2009.