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Hawaiian Airlines urges Travellers to USA to be aware of New Immigration Measures

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Hawaiian Airlines has urged all intending travellers to the USA to be aware of new immigration measures, which, from 12 January, 2009, require visitors to obtain an official US Government travel authorisation prior to departure.

The airline also urged travel agents to be aware of the new requirements, and to advise intending passengers including, where possible, those who may already have booked their travel for the new year.

Under new procedures announced by the US Department of Homeland Security, travellers wishing to visit the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme are now required to pre-register their intention to enter the USA at least 72 hours prior to their scheduled departure.

This requires all intending travellers to apply online to the Department of Homeland Security for a travel authorisation, prior to boarding an aircraft or vessel to the USA.

Travellers who do not apply for and receive a formal travel authorisation ahead of their intended departure date will not be able to board a flight or ship to the USA on or after 12 January.

This is a very important new requirement for intending visitors to the USA, and we want to make travellers well aware of the change before they arrive at the airport to board their flight, said Sherilyn Robinson, Sales and Marketing Manager Australia for Hawaiian Airlines.

This is not a regulation created by airlines. It is a new requirement from the US Government, and where passengers do not have a travel authorisation, airline check in staff will not be able to resolve the problem, Ms Robinson added. Nor will airlines be liable for any costs or inconvenience where travellers do not have a travel authorisation and are not able to travel.

Currently, passengers intending to visit the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme are required to complete detailed personal documentation aboard their aircraft or ship, prior to arrival in the USA.

The new system brings forward this process, so that US immigration officials can determine whether an intending visitor is eligible for entry to the USA, prior to their departure from their home country.

To apply for a US Travel Authorisation, visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta. The authorisation is free of charge and the application takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Once received, the authorisation is valid for two years for holders of valid passports.

For future visits to the USA, those who have obtained a travel authorisation still need to register their travel plans at least 72 hours prior to their intended departure, quoting their authorisation number.

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