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    Please tell a cruise-virgin - what's ESTA? - thinking of a caribbean cruise next February, went off to the sun last February and it was fabulous, so thought we'd combine sun with our first cruise.

    The ESTA process or Electronic System for Travel Authorisation now has to be used by anyone travelling to the USA from countries such as the UK who are part of the Visa Waiver Program. You bascially have to go to this website https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ complete an online form, pay a fee ($14 as I recall) and they normally give you authorisation and an ESTA number immediately and you need to write down and quote to US Immigration if they ask.

    For more help they also have a FAQ section to answer any queries https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/WebHel...ine_Help_1.htm.

    It is relatively straightforward to follow but any queries come back here and ask and someone should be able to assist.

    Hope you have a great cruise !

    Last edited by trevor432990, East Sussex; 20th May 2012, 06:54 AM.


      Just to add you should print-out your ESTA form they do recommend you do and it is valid for 2 years for your $14 fee. The process is quick and you should always have your ESTA print-out with your passport, just in case but it is true now when they scan your passport at the airport they know you have a valid entry to the USA without this you won't be allowed to board your plane, but having the written copy is just in case something goes wrong, you know what computers are like.
      Bill Byth


        As all the others have advised the ESTA is essential for any itinerary that includes entering US territory which remember includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. There are cruises originating in Jamaica and Barbados as well as Souhthampton which avoid US territory but the ESTA is highly reccommended in case of an emergency, eg medical for a traveller or the need to return home asap and transit via the US is needed, US Immigration do not recognise the concept of "in transit" flight routes. At less than than £9.00 it is good insurance...
        Richard B


          Our ESTA was only valid for 1 year but it was easy to obtain on line and quite cheap.


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