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June 22, 2010


The I-94W Goes Paperless!

During the month of July 2010 the I-94W  completed by Visa Waiver Program travelers entering the United States by air or sea is being phased out.  Please check with your carrier for further information.  The I-94W is the arrival/departure record card handed to travelers by the carrier which is completed and presented to U.S. immigration at the Port of Entry.

Travelers who do not complete the I-94W will have their period of admission written into a stamp in their passport.  The I-94W will continue to be used by travelers entering the United States by land and the I-94 by travelers in possession of a valid visa.  Further information is available from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

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  1. Tariq
    Jul 7 2010

    I am so confused by the ESTA and/or I-94 requirements set by the US. My ESTA VISA has just been authorized for travel to NYC later this month. I will be spending a weekend in Halifax, Canada (travelling by air) before flying back to NYC to catch my return flight to London. I can see that my ESTA is valid until 2012 but i’m not sure if I have to update the information every time I want to re-enter the US.

    How many I-94s should I be filling in? Must I reapply for an ESTA 72 hours before I plan to fly back into the US to catch my flight to London?

    Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!

    • Jul 8 2010

      Tariq – An approved travel authorization via ESTA is generally valid, unless revoked, for up to two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

      If you previously submitted an application for an ESTA and you want to update your travel authorization application with new travel details, you may do so.

      With regard to the I-94W, you should be aware that this form is being phased out. Please check with your air carrier for further information.

  2. sean
    Jul 10 2010

    with regard to the esta form i am trying to find out if i need to fill 1 in i have a visa in my passport from 2 years ago do i need to fill an esta form in can someone help

    • Jul 15 2010

      sean – if you currently hold a valid visa, you are not required to register under ESTA. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization is only for those travelers traveling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

  3. Harry
    Jul 15 2010

    I am so confused as which visa i need. I am thinking of travelling to USA in sept but not sure which Visa i need. I am British Citizen so i qualify under visa waiver programme i think can you advise me what visa i should apply for as i am only going for a holiday for week.


    • Jul 16 2010

      Harry – if you will travel to the United States for a week for tourism, you may be eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. You can check your eligibility for visa free travel using our Visa Waiver Wizard.

  4. Melanie
    Jul 19 2010


    Several questions – does a tourist visa allow you to study ? how long is it valid for ? I am a French national living in the Uk (been a Uk resident for 5 years), am I correct in thinking I need to apply at the London Embassy ? Do I need to have my travel details finalized by the time I apply (ie flight details etc) – I was going to wait till I know when my visa can be granted to book travel. Thanks a lot, melanie

    • Jul 20 2010

      Melanie – if you wish to study in the United States, you will require the appropriate student visa. If you are currently legally resident in the UK, you may apply for a visa at the Embassy in London. We recommend that applicants do not make final, irreversible travel plans until their visa application has been processed and their passport an visa have been returned to them.

  5. Dave
    Jul 19 2010

    I want to go to the state’s in jan, next year. But have a drink driving conviction and have to apply for the visa though he us embassy. I want to know will i get my visa.

    • Jul 20 2010

      Dave – we regret that this office cannot pre-adjudicate visa applications. A determination on your eligibility for a visa can only be made by a consular officer at the time of your application. If you wish to arrange an appointment to apply for a visa, please contact the Embassy’s operator service on 09042 450 100 (£1.20/min).

  6. Renée
    Jul 23 2010


    I am a British Citizen and I have had my ESTA application accepted ready for travel in August. Will I need a tourist visa also? And how long are you permitted to stay in America using the ESTA? because some articles I’ve read say 3 months, and others say 6?

    • Jul 23 2010

      Renée – ESTA registration is necessary only for travelers traveling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program(VWP). If you meet the requirements for the VWP and are planning to travel visa free, you must have registered under ESTA before you travel. Provided that you meet the requirements for visa free travel, you will not require a visa.

      Travelers traveling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program may be permitted to enter the United States for up to 90 days. The length of time that each traveler is admitted for can only be determined by Immigration officials at the port of entry.

  7. Margaret
    Jul 23 2010

    I have been in the USA for 90 days this year under the Visa waiver scheme. Can I go back for one month as I would like to visit friends and family prior to going to South America?

    • Jul 26 2010

      Margaret – there is no set period of time that you must remain outside the United States before reapplying for entry. However, if the Immigration officials at the port of entry do not believe that you are a bona fide visitor, you may be questioned or refused entry to the United States. If you have already spent a significant period of time in the U.S. you should be prepared to demonstrate strong ties outside the United States which would compel you to depart at the end of a brief visit.

  8. Marcus
    Jul 29 2010

    I fly in to tornoto every year for a weeks’ fishing in New York State, when I go through border control in the thousand islands I get an I-94W which I pay 6 bucks for and is stapled in to my passport. When I went back through Canadian customs last year to get my flight out from Toronto.the green slip stapled to the passport page wasn’t removed. I’m therefore concerned that when I return this year it will appear I’ve never left the US, is this a potential issue, if so what can I do about it?

  9. Stephen Griggs
    Jul 30 2010

    I have recently renewed my UK passport, but there is still another 6 years left on my B1/B2 Visa, which is of course in my old passport. I’m visiting the US next month; do I need to get the existing Visa transferred into my new passport, or can I simply bring both passports to the Immigration desk?

    • Aug 3 2010

      Stephen – If the passport in which your visa has been endorsed has expired, the visa in the old passport still can be used, provided that you also carry a valid passport of the same nationality. Note: If, when canceling your old passport, the passport authority has clipped the corners of the passport, and, in so doing, has damaged the visa in any way, that visa is no longer valid and cannot be used for travel to the United States.

  10. Robin
    Aug 2 2010

    We’re British citizens, going to Canada later this month (August). We also have a holiday booked to the US later this year (November), for which we’ve already completed our ESTA.

    While in Canada I’d like to drive over the border, into the US, as we’re heading to Niagara for part of our trip and I wanted to come in via the US side, before returning to the Canadian side (from which we will be flying home a couple of days later). However, if we cross the border onto US soil – even for just a few hours, as part of our drive to Niagara – might this affect our re-entry in November?

    Assuming the 90 day period begins from the minute we enter the US, this would mean it would elapse bang in the middle of our November trip to the US! I obviously don’t want to jeopardise our November trip but would like to drive through the US to Niagara in August, if that were possible. Thanks for any advice.

    • Aug 3 2010

      Robin – If you enter the U.S. by land the immigration authorities at the border crossing will issue you with the arrival/departure record card, I-94W. You will be charged a $6.00 administrative fee; the fee is payable in U.S. dollars only.

      Note: the 90 day period will begin when you enter the United States from Canada and finish when you depart the United States back into Canada.

  11. Neil Hardy
    Aug 2 2010

    My Mother and I both have biochipped UK passports – I am confused – we are flying to Baltimore to join a Caribbean cruise – what form or visa do i need to have – will the cruise company sort this for us? how long is it valid for – I will be coming at end of Jan 2011 – shall i apply now – do i need to apply and if so what for and where – sorry very confused!

  12. Kishan Herriotts
    Aug 3 2010

    A couple of questions:

    As ESTA registration is valid for 2 years, do I need to update it on subsequent trips, prior to travel, with details of the address in the USA I will be staying at for each new visit I make?

    Secondly, when traveling with a colleague, we both experienced problems with the airlines computer not recognizing the ESTA numbers we had, even though we had traveled previously with the same registration and had printed off the confirmation.
    We were forced to find a computer terminal and reregister with only a short time to go before our flights. The check in official for American Airlines said that this happens all the time and was a problem with the ESTA computer.
    Are we better off applying for a 5 year visa as we travel to the States 3-4 times a year for upto 2 weeks at a time?

  13. TJ Hale
    Aug 3 2010

    I’m booked to travel early September from the UK by air to Toronto, then visit Niagra Falls on the Canadian side, then travel by Greyhound bus to New York City in the USA. I stay in NYC just over a week, then return to London by Air.

    Will it be possible to easily and quickly gain a visa-waver at the Canadian / US border crossing, or will I need to make other preparations?

  14. Sues
    Aug 8 2010

    Can anyone help me please I have applied three times on the embassy website for an ESTA but everytime I put in all my details to check the status it comes up with invalied application and there is no address to email to to find out what is going on. As I have previously been turned down for a working visa in 1997 no other site will accept my application and I am going to Las Vegas on 21st September and getting worried about this. Also the phone line charges are too expensive to call if it is not the right department ? HELP ????

    • Aug 9 2010

      Sues – If you have previously been refused a visa, you may not be eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. You may wish to check your eligibility for visa free travel using the Embassy’s Visa Waiver Wizard.

      If you have entered all the information correctly, on the official ESTA website and your application is still denied, you will be required to obtain a visa before attempting to travel to the United States.

  15. JOHANA
    Aug 9 2010

    I have a valid tourist visa to USA. I am Peruvian and I currently study in UK. On June 24 I travel to UK and I did stop in Miami. There I got a visa for six months (until 23 December). In Miami, I was given a paper telling you check out. I do not know why but the airline did not ask me for that pape and I still have it. I must return this role? How do I return it?

    • Aug 9 2010

      Johana – If you were requested to “check out” when you left the United States, you may wish to contact the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency for assistance in confirming that you departed the United States.

  16. carol
    Aug 9 2010

    can anyone help me we normally travel to usa using our esta forms but if i travel to the usa then go to canada for a couple of weeks to visit family and then return to the usa via road to return home by air do i need a visa or will the esta cover us? any help would be appreciated thanks

    • Aug 9 2010

      carol – an ESTA is only required if you will enter the United States by air or sea. If you will enter the U.S. by land from Canada, you are not required to have a visa, provided that you meet the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program. Please note that, when entering via a land border, you will be required to pay a fee of $6, payable only in U.S Dollars.

  17. sam evans
    Aug 9 2010

    l hope to fly to USA end Jan 2011 for two weeks hol in Miami. Have checked waiver wizard and appear to comply – how early before holiday wd l have to apply for visa-waiver, please, taking into consideration the proximity of Christmas ans New Year holidays. thank you

    • Aug 9 2010

      sam – If you intend to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you should register with ESTA as soon as possible. Remember, registration under ESTA is valid for 2 years, or until your passport expires, whichever is sooner.

  18. Dave
    Aug 9 2010


    I’ve just returned from the UK after using a paperless I94 and ESTA. When checking in to return home the instructions from the airline was to present my passport at the gate. This I duly did and it was not looked at or reviewed in any way. I really don’t know now if my departure has been recorded by the authorities or not, or indeed what I should, can anyone please advise?



  19. Dave
    Aug 16 2010

    If I may submit a further question to clarify my understanding. I completed ESTA and the I94 questions contained therein. Upon arrival, my passport was stamped and dated 90 days in advance, there was no other documentation involved. So I didn’t have a form to return, do I still need to contact the US authorities with all my details? Apologies for the lack of understanding, having visited the US on an annual basis for vacation I did find not having a card to hand back unusual. As my passport was not reviewed by the airline on departure what should happen when you depart by air on a paperless I94 (so I can ensure this does not happen again)?

    Thankyou for your understanding

    • Aug 20 2010

      Dave – The implementation of the ESTA program allows the Department of Homeland Security to eliminate the requirement that Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers complete an I-94W prior to being admitted to the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has transitioned to paperless processing for VWP travelers arriving by air or sea who have obtained an ESTA authorization. Most travelers entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program who have an approved ESTA will no longer need to fill out the I-94W form, nor will a green I-94W departure card be placed in their passport. The I-94W form will still be required at the land border.

  20. Nigel
    Aug 17 2010

    I am planning to fly into Detroit but then go straight across the border into Canada (Detroit being the closest International airport to my destination in Canada). I then later plan to fly to Vancouver and then travel down (probably by land or possibly by sea) to Seattle I will after about 10 days touring return to the UK from San Francisco

    I presume I will need to complete an ESTA application under the visa Waiver Program, which will initially show my point of entry as Detroit but the address as In transit (ie to Canada) – Is this correct?

    Do I then need to update my travel details on the ESTA re my entry into the US at Seattle or once I have an ESTA granted is that good enough for all under 90 day visits that I may make to the US in the next 2 years without keep updating any travel details (including my re-entry into the US at Seattle on this trip)?

    Finally what if anything do I need to do about an I-94W and is this subject to a fee, irrelevant that my airline ticket into Detroit should have incorporated the fee or is the re-entry into US at Seattle classed as a different trip

    Appreciate your advice


    • Aug 20 2010

      Nigel – If you enter the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you may then travel to Canada, provided you have a return or onward ticket. If your return journey will take you back through the United States, even if only in transit, the total trip, including both periods of time spent in the United States and Canada cannot exceed 90 days. If it does, you will require a visa.

      For full details with regard to traveling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, please refer to the Embassy website at:

  21. Noel
    Aug 25 2010

    I shall be flying to orlando in September ,I have a valid US Visa , Do I have to give advanced notice of travel to the Authorites
    Many Thanks

    • Aug 25 2010

      Noel – if you have a valid visa, you are not required to give any notice of travel.

  22. Jaime
    Aug 30 2010


    I am going to visit United States next month from Spain, the question is that the visa waiver program ask me for a flight back to Spain to be able to get the Visa Waiver . I am going to be there visiting some friends around the states for a month, and then, I am going probably by bus, renting a car or maybe buying a car to Vancouver ( Canada) where I got a Visa to be there for 1 Year. The Question is, do I really need a flight back to Spain to go to United States? because I am not planning to buy this now, And also if i get it, it will be next year and going from Vancouver. if I show all the information that I am going to Canada, it will be ok?

    Thank you for all,

    Jaime Del Rio.

  23. Aug 31 2010

    Alan – If you wish to travel to the United States on holiday for a period of 4-5 months, you will require a B-2 visa. To apply, please contact the Embassy Operator Service on 09042 450 100 (1.20/min) and schedule an appointment for a visa interview.

  24. Karz
    Sep 2 2010

    Hi I will be entering the states Via Canada. Im getting a train from Vancouver to Portland and as I understand it I will need to get an I-94W which is still required for those entering the States by land.

    However I will be getting an internal flight from Portland to San Francisco. I am eligible under the VWP to travel Visa free but do I still need to complete the ESTA authorisation process on the website since I’ll be travelling through an airport?

    • Sep 8 2010

      Karz – if you will only fly internally, you will not be required to obtain an ESTA. ESTA authorisation is only required for travelers entering the United States via air or sea ports.

  25. Dan
    Sep 2 2010


    I hold a valid H1B visa. I am planning to travel to the USA for a one week holiday (not work), do I need to go under VWP, or does my H1B allow a holiday too ?

    • Sep 8 2010

      Dan – if you will travel for tourism, and not related to your work, you may be eligible for a B-2 visa or, if otherwise qualified, may travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

  26. Paula
    Sep 3 2010

    We went to Florida last summer and did the esta then. I know it lasts for 2 years but we cannot find our numbers to update where we would be staying this time. Does this matter or will we need to apply again.

    • Sep 8 2010

      Paula – you are not required to update your accommodation details. This is not a compulsory part of the ESTA application. Provided that you still remain eligible to travel visa free and that your passports have not expired since you completed the ESTA, you may continue to travel using your current registration.

  27. Esther
    Sep 8 2010

    I am travelling to the US with my two children aged 9 and 6 in October. I will already have my ESTA from a previous visit (this week). I understand that I will need to complete a new online ESTA application for each of my children.
    I notice on the form that if I am completing it on behlaf of the applicant I have to indicate that “I further certify that the applicant certifies that he or she has read, or has had read to him or her, all the questions and statements on this application, understands all the questions and statements on this application,…”. Im am sure that you do not really expect a 6 year old to understand your form! What is the procedure for children? Are there any special forms for children?

    • Sep 8 2010

      Esther – there are no separate forms for children. As your children are minors you may complete the form for them.

  28. Olga
    Sep 15 2010

    I am an academic and want to travel to the US for a 2-week research visit sponsored by a US university. I am a bit confused what type of visa I should apply for, B-1 or J-1. Is there some service which I can consult on this matter?
    Thank you

    • Sep 16 2010

      Olga – Please contact the Embassy Operator Service on 09042 450 100 (1.20/min)

  29. Katy
    Oct 19 2010

    I am planning on travelling by road for a day trip from Canada with my Canadian relatives. I have a valid ESTA. Do I also need to complete a I-94W form to enter the USA. If so, then how long will it take to process? Can I apply before travel, or is it only available at the port of entry? Is there a cost?

    • Oct 20 2010

      Katy – if you will enter the United States at a land border (i.e. with Canada or Mexico) you will be required to complete an I-94W at the time you cross the border. Please note that you will also be required to pay a fee of $6, which is payable only in U.S. dollars.

  30. Katie
    Nov 14 2010

    I am a Polish citizen and a Polish passport holder; last year I applied for a travel visa to the USA but I was refused (I even do not know why as I was living and working legally in the UK for over 5 years); this year I was granted a British citizenship; I am in terms of organizing a British passport; I am planning short holiday at the beginning of 2011; I have everything organized and I can provide all possible proves; do I have to apply for a visa (while using my British passport)? or Can I get Visa Waiver (as a British citizen)?

    • Katie
      Nov 16 2010

      Thank you very much for your answer however I would like to have it clarified a little bit more. I have never been convicted of any (even the smallest one) criminal offense. I do not suffer from any serious illness and – in fact – I have not been denied entry to the USA (I simply went to the US Embassy in London – as I wanted to go for few weeks to travel in the USA but I did not have any proves where I would stay as I usually organize everything ‘as it goes’ – and I was refused a travel visa); so – as I understand it – I was not denied entry to the USA; could you please confirm whether my way of thinking is correct and what action shall I undertake; this time I am fully prepared (I have holiday organized and paid for, shortly I will buy a return fly ticket – I just wait to receive my British passport; I will be traveling with another British citizen and we will be staying first few night in her friend’s place who is a US citizen); I just want to make sure that I follow all rules; thank you very much in advance for your assistance;

      • Nov 19 2010

        Katie – If you wish to travel to the United States on holiday, you will require a B-2 visa.

        If, however, you are qualified, you may be eligible to travel visa free to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Please note; if you are qualified to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, you will be required to register under the online Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA). When completing an ESTA application, due to your prior visa refusal, you will be required to answer “Yes” to the question with regard to having been refused a visa.

  31. Katie
    Nov 20 2010

    Thank you for your answer.
    I have just checked ESTA website. There is no such question with regards to having been refused a visa in the past.
    The question states C) Are you seeking to work in the U.S.; or have you ever been excluded and deported; or been previously removed from the United States; or procured or attempted to procure a visa or entry into the U.S. by fraud or misrepresentation
    For my understanding it does not apply to me at all so my answer will be NO.
    In addition, if I pass ESTA (+ have my holiday and returned flight paid in full) would I have a guaranteed entry to the USA or shall I contact i.e. US Embassy anyway to seek further assistance?
    Could you please confirm as I am getting confused.
    Thank you so much for your help.

    • Dec 15 2010

      Katie – question F says “F) Have you ever been denied a U.S. visa or entry into the U.S. or had a U.S. visa canceled?”. If you have been refused a visa, even if it was refused under your previous nationality, you are required to answer yes to this question. Please note that successful registration under ESTA does not guarantee that you will be granted entry to the United States. The decision to admit or deny all travelers can only be made by Immigration officials at the port of entry.

  32. Leon
    Jan 17 2011

    Under the visa waiver programme, I have visited the USA for 62 days this year, Am I limited to 90 days in total in a 12 month period, or can I visit several times a year under the same ESTA for up to 90 days at a time. Does the year run from date of ESTA or Jan to Jan ? I am retired and have family in USA

    • Jan 20 2011

      Leon – There is no set limit to the number of visits you can make under the Visa Waiver Program and there is no set limit on the total number of days you can spend in the United States, providing that no single trip exceeds 90 days.

      It is important to note, however, that each time you enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program you have to demonstrate that you are only visiting for a temporary period for business or tourist purposes. If you want to spend more time in the United States than you do outside it, you may need to apply for a more appropriate visa, such as an immigrant visa.

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