Brussels, Belgium (AP) U.S. Officials say Europeans and others who travel visa-free to the United States must start registering their trips electronically as part of a new online security screening process which takes effect Jan. 12, 2009.
Jackie Bednarz, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, says the new security measure replaces current paper forms that visitors from the 27 countries participating in he U.S. visa waiver program fill out when entering at airports and seaports.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, will enable travelers to notify the department about their travel plans via a web site, www.cbp.gov/esta, before they purchase their plane tickets.
U.S. Officials, announcing the updated plans Friday, say some 300,000 people from eligible countries, which include Britain, France, Germany, Australia and Japan, have already used the system during its testing phase, which started in August.
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