Tag Archives: visa waiver program

E3 Visa Contacts & Further Information

I thought I would do a quick E3 visa summary post around some of the additional information access points you have in regards to the US Consulate interview and the visa application process.

There are two information lines you can call within Australia according to the US Consulate;

One is a paid 1-902-941-641 number which is charged at $1.15  per minute which either has pre-recorded information that is no different to the information you can find on the US consulate website. In my opinion this aspect of the phone line is rather useless as the information given is fairly obvious for the most part or explicitly mentioned on the website and visapoint site about your application process, services and interview. This part is available 24 hours a day.

However within this you also have an option to be connected to a live consultant available between 8:00am and 7:00pm, Monday to Friday Australian Eastern Time. This now costs $3 per minute. If you are needing to call the US consulate this is definitely the more helpful part as you can ask your specific question particular if you have complex issues like administrative processing, visa reciprocity fees, etc. that are not articulated fully on the site.

The second information line is a 1-800-687-844 number which is essentially the same live consultant service as the above 1-902 number but no pre-recorded information. Thus it is only available in those hours listed above. However here you have to give credit card information and you are charged a flat $12 for the call.

I guess the best advice to give if you think you need to speak to a live person about your case then judge in your mind how long you think the conversation could be and opt for the number service accordingly that will give you the best value for money given one is a ongoing charge and the other is a flat rate.

However note they never really get specific on those calls so will not delve into the personal details of your case and are not say like a bank or credit card hotline where you can debate merits of the case or fees with them. They are more informational and procedural and they don’t deviate from that so don’t waste your money if that is your intention as you will only come away more frustrated.

Also they have a general info section you can read in regards to your US Consulate interview. So if you read our US Consulate interview post and this, it will certainly demistify the entire visa interview process for you and help you be fully prepared for the experience. It is a very sterile environment and process to say the least!

Finally you should be aware that if you are refused a visa under either the 221(g) Administrative Processing provision or the 214(b) non-satisfaction of home country ties or visa condition violations, that you do not then immediately subsequently attempt to enter the US on the Visa Waiver Program as you will most likely be refused entry at the US border and be sent home.

CJ

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

ESTA Summary – Visa Waiver Traveler Information

ESTA is a web-based data collection system, initially launched by the Department of Homeland Security in August 2008, which determines the preliminary eligibility of visitors to travel “visa-free”, under the VWP, prior to traveling to the United States.

According to recent DHS data, more than 1.2 million ESTA applications have been received, and over 98% of applicants have been approved. DHS further states that will take a ‘reasonable approach’ to travelers who have not obtained an approved travel authorization via ESTA, and will continue an aggressive advertising and outreach campaign throughout 2009.

Travelers without an approved ESTA are advised, however, that they may be denied boarding, experience delayed processing, or be denied admission at a U.S. port of entry.

The citizens or nationals of the following countries are currently eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Eight of these countries joined the VWP in 2008, and their citizens and nationals have been required to comply with an ESTA since their designation as VWP participants: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Malta.

There has been some degree of confusion as to when and how ESTA applies. In brief, ESTA only applies to foreign nationals (Non-U.S. citizens) who are eligible to travel to the United States under the terms and conditions of the Visa Waiver Program, without a Visa or Green Card, or other government-issued permission.

Any person who needs a visa or has a visa already does not need to complete the ESTA process prior to traveling to the United States. Essentially anyone who would complete a WHITE I-94 card at arrival in the U.S., does not participate in ESTA. On the flip side, anyone who would normally complete a GREEN I-94W card at arrival in the U.S. MUST now complete ESTA.

While the ESTA is geared to eventually phasing out paper I-94W cards altogether, it is CBP’s current advice and recommendation to complete BOTH, the ESTA online, AND the paper I-94W card for inspection. It is further recommended that the ESTA-traveler bring a paper printout of their ESTA application response in order to maintain a record of their ESTA application number.

The ESTA application Web site has been made available in several languages and helps to guide VWP travelers through the application process.


Guest Author

Steven A. Culbreath, Esq

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail