USA: Department of Homeland Security advises against unauthorized Visa Waiver websites

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned that unauthorized third parties have established websites seeking to charge Visa Waiver Program travelers for electronic travel authorization. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables eligible citizens or nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) becomes a mandatory program on Jan. 12. The system purports to verify whether travelers from VWP nations pose a law enforcement or security risk. Travelers fill out applications for free at ESTA’s website.Use of a private service to apply for travel authorization via ESTA will not expedite the granting of approval, said the DHS. Some of the scam websites charge fees for application.Source: Travel Weekly; find article here>>.

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