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Visa Waiver Expanded–More Travelers Can Enter U.S. Without A Visa

Posted: October 28th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: National News | No Comments »

The U.S. government recently expanded the Visa Waiver Program to include the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Republic of Korea and the Slovak Republic.  Soon (but not yet) citizens of these countries will be able to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa.

The United States must still complete certain internal steps required by statute before it can complete VWP expansion.

Nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Republic of Korea and the Slovak Republic continue to require visas to travel to the United States during that period.

Nationals of these countries are expected to be able to travel without obtaining a visa beginning in mid- November 2008 AS LONG AS they have a biometric passport and register on-line through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces implementation of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which began 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. 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 from current VWP member countries on January 12, 2009 and for VWP travelers from newly admitted VWP countries in mid-November 2008. Learn more about ESTA on the DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.

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Written by Chris Jaensch

Chris Jaensch

Attorney P. Christopher Jaensch received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1992 and a Juris Doctor degree in 1995 from the University of Florida. While at UF, he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa Society and Florida Blue Key, the oldest and most prestigious leadership honorary in the state of Florida.

Mr. Jaensch is a member of the Florida Bar, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Sarasota Bar Association. He has served as President of the Sarasota-Manatee International Trade Club and served as Regional Vice Chair, Tampa Bay, for the Central Florida Chapter of AILA. He was a member of City of Sarasota Charter Review Committee and has been active in several local organizations, including the influential Laurel Park Neighborhood Association in downtown Sarasota.

Mr. Jaensch has over 18 years of experience in the field of immigration and nationality law and focuses his practice on four primary categories (a) investors and entrepreneurs, (b) business executives, managers and professionals, (c) amateur and professional athletes and coaches and (d) performing artists and immigrants with extraordinary ability.

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