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Old 10.05.2012, 09:20
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ESTA Application

I'm flying to New York at the end of the month and doing a bit of travelling on the east coast including a hop over to the Bahamas. My return flight goes from New York JFK and I will be flying directly there from the Bahamas (two seperately booked flights).

Do I need to pass through immigration upon arriving & is it therefore necessary to make a second ESTA application (the first will be for entering the US upon arrival in NY).

Thanks!
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Old 10.05.2012, 09:58
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Re: ESTA Application

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I'm flying to New York at the end of the month and doing a bit of travelling on the east coast including a hop over to the Bahamas. My return flight goes from New York JFK and I will be flying directly there from the Bahamas (two seperately booked flights).

Do I need to pass through immigration upon arriving & is it therefore necessary to make a second ESTA application (the first will be for entering the US upon arrival in NY).

Thanks!
ESTA is valid for 2 years, you don't have to fill in a new one every time you travel.
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Old 10.05.2012, 09:59
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Re: ESTA Application

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ESTA is valid for 2 years, you don't have to fill in a new one every time you travel.
Indeed, I got ours last week, they expire in 2014.

Tom
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Old 18.05.2013, 22:58
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Re: ESTA Application

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C) Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved, in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies? *
Persecutions of other people are permissable though? And how old would you have to be to be traveling to the US to qualify for that last bit? Unless you were a baby between 1933 & 1945, you'd have to be a 100 years old at a minimum.
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Old 26.04.2019, 15:53
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Re: ESTA Application

Apologies for resurrecting an old thread here. Swiss couple friends of mine travelling to the US next week invited me to dinner the other night. They were close to completing their ESTA application online when I arrived, shaking their heads at the cost: 190USD for 2 travellers. Anyways they were about to enter thier credit card details but asked me to review what they have done. The site name seems trying hard to be official as "official-esta.com/visa-waiver-program/esta-for-swiss-citizens". This I was told was the top result in their google search for "how to apply for ESTA in switzerland", it was even boxed by google as the best result.

We abandoned that site and searched in the ch.usembassy site and there we found the real officeial one: esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta, it cost them 14usd for each application.

They are done with the ESTA application but are now worried about the passport numbers and personal information they have entered into what appeared to be a scam site earlier. They are already receiving warnings by email about an incomplete application and possibilities of heavy fines if not completed. Any ideas how they can mitigate this? what to watch out for?
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Old 26.04.2019, 16:08
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Re: ESTA Application

This is very common modus operandi where a new layer of middle-men get invovled. I have seen it in so many places when applying for online Visas. All they do is look and sound official, getting Google top hits and URL which look similar. They collect your data, apply to the real website and revert the result back to you, all at 5-10x the official price.

One of my colleagues even got a call from the "Embassy" asking if he needs help in filling the Visa form as he seemed to have paused while applying online. He was super impressed with Indian efficiency Got the visa, no problem, just 5x the price.

You did the right thing going from .gov domain. Well done.

I don't think it is illegal, there usually is some small print explaining the setup and that they charge more. Ignore their chastising. They are just hurting at lost sales.

Last edited by DUTCH; 26.04.2019 at 16:09. Reason: .
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Old 26.04.2019, 16:19
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Re: ESTA Application

It's apparently quite common, and quite a shame the search engines put fake sites that pay for ads above the legal, legit sites.

The first two hits on google for "how to report fake ESTA site" were paid ads for non-official sites offering to help process your ESTA.

From CBP:
https://it.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-...ta/esta-fraud/

and the State Dept:
https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...ing-fraud.html

This Aussie site implies it's wise to contact your country's passport-issuing authority as well, to let them know the fake site where you gave all your personal information: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news/travelling-to-the-usa
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Old 26.04.2019, 17:29
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Re: ESTA Application

Apart from the sad fact that greedy companies exploit naive people by posing as official sites, the US gubmint adds quite a bit of confusion to the matter too.

Just a few weeks ago I again had to go through the whole ordeal of applying for a new visa. Of course I started from the Website of the US Embassy and Berne and strictly followed the links provided by the pages to which I was directed. I don't quite remember how many US .gov domains I was put through to (each of them with a completely different look and user interface, mind you!), but I kept kind of a log of the .com domains that were involved in the application and payment procedure too.

Believe it or not, I counted eight .com websites, among them two companies in Canada and one in Sweden (I'm a Swiss citizen, currently in Switzerland; my last stays in Sweden were 40 years ago).

Even the absolutely "orthodox" route is a total maze and utterly confusing. Now add those incredibly annoying questions, of which FCBarca provided an example above, only the questionnaire for a visa has way more of those questions and way worse ones too (e.g. "Are you the spouse, son, or daughter of an individual who has committed or conspired to commit a human trafficking offense in the United States or outside the United States and have you within the last five years knowingly benefited from the trafficking activities? [Yes] [No], plus the full names, maiden names and dates of birth of both parents (who died about 15 years ago but never mind) plus the dates and durations of the last five stays in the USA etc. etc. etc.).

By the time you are approaching the end of this whole odyssey you seriously start questioning your intention to even go there, although your (American) spouse is waiting there for you.

The US government could really make some effort to make the whole application, for both ESTA and visa, more transparent and straightforward. That would put most of those fake sites out of business very quickly.
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Old 26.04.2019, 17:34
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Re: ESTA Application

For future reference, here is the official ESTA site (at least as of today):

https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov

As I don't need an ESTA, I've never filled one out so I don't know how much stuff they ask you. From others that have filled it out, I got the impression it was a "quick" application and approval.

Captain I do hope you only paid $14, which would mean you were probably on the legit site?
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Old 26.04.2019, 18:50
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Re: ESTA Application

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As I don't need an ESTA, I've never filled one out so I don't know how much stuff they ask you. From others that have filled it out, I got the impression it was a "quick" application and approval.
It can be "quick" or not quite so, depending on many factors, e.g. if you are an employee, self-employed, unemployed or simply retired. There can be up to about 120 questions and entry fields to be filled out.

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Captain I do hope you only paid $14, which would mean you were probably on the legit site?
Thanks for asking. I know the drill and can't be fooled that easily. I paid those $14, which, as you may know, are said to be used to promote tourism to the USA (!). However, the visa proper cost another $160, as usual. Don't ask me what those are used for.

On the plus side, my recent visa arrived extremely quickly. I qualify for the non-interview procedure, i.e. I need not travel to Bern to have my pockets searched for explosives. I can submit my passport and other documents (to prove that those poor Michiganders need my physical presence) by mail. According to the on-line instructions, I should have gotten my passport plus visa back within two weeks. It arrived within five days. I'm still recovering from that shock.
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Old 26.04.2019, 18:55
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Re: ESTA Application

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It can be "quick" or not quite so, depending on many factors, e.g. if you are an employee, self-employed, unemployed or simply retired. There can be up to about 120 questions and entry fields to be filled out.

Thanks for asking. I know the drill and can't be fooled that easily. I paid those $14, which, as you may know, are said to be used to promote tourism to the USA (!). However, the visa proper cost another $160, as usual. Don't ask me what those are used for.

On the plus side, my recent visa arrived extremely quickly. I qualify for the non-interview procedure, i.e. I need not travel to Bern to have my pockets searched for explosives. I can submit my passport and other documents (to prove that those poor Michiganders need my physical presence) by mail. According to the on-line instructions, I should have gotten my passport plus visa back within two weeks. It arrived within five days. I'm still recovering from that shock.
Swiss don't need visas to visit the USA, just the ESTA. However, I get the impression from your back-and-forth travels that you plan to stay longer than a simple short vacation. And yes, $14 to promote tourism. Absolutely!
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Old 26.04.2019, 19:50
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Re: ESTA Application

Promote tourism in Michigan? When I mentioned tourism at the immigration desk of Detroit airport I was pulled off the line for additional questions...
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Old 26.04.2019, 21:41
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Re: ESTA Application

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Swiss don't need visas to visit the USA, just the ESTA. However, I get the impression from your back-and-forth travels that you plan to stay longer than a simple short vacation. And yes, $14 to promote tourism. Absolutely!
Exactly, I usually stay from May to November, then again from December to March. ESTA allows only 90 days every half year.
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Promote tourism in Michigan? When I mentioned tourism at the immigration desk of Detroit airport I was pulled off the line for additional questions...
Traverse City, MI has 15,000 inhabitants but up to 300,000 tourists in summer, not in the course of the entire summer but at the same time. There are huge hotels on the south shore of the Grand Traverse Bay, dozens of them, and countless B&Bs all over the area. The harbors burst in their seams because of all the visiting yachts. Besides cherries (about 160,000 tons a year), tourism is the mainstay of the economy in NW Lower Michigan.

Maybe the guy with the big guns took you off the line because you were behaving funny. Did you brag about coming from North Korea in transit to Cuba?
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Old 26.04.2019, 22:40
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Re: ESTA Application

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Maybe the guy with the big guns took you off the line because you were behaving funny. Did you brag about coming from North Korea in transit to Cuba?
Now that you make me think about it...

To be honest, I personally enjoyed walking along the Huron in Fall.
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