The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reminds travellers from all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries that they are now required to obtain approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to traveling to the United States. This requirement applies to all eligible citizens or nationals travelling under the VWP-including those from the UK.
ESTA is a web-based system, initially launched in August 2008, that determines the preliminary eligibility of visitors to travel under the VWP prior to boarding a carrier to the United States. To date, more than 1.2 million ESTA applications have been received, and more than 99.6 percent of applicants have been approved, most within seconds.
DHS will take a reasonable approach to travellers who have not obtained an approved travel authorization via ESTA, and will continue an aggressive advertising and outreach campaign throughout 2009. Travellers without an approved ESTA are advised, however, that they may be denied boarding, experience delayed processing, or be denied admission at a US port or airport. Visitors may apply for travel authorization via the ESTA Web site at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov.
Travel insurance: News update: January 2009