25 MAY 2009
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ESTA, the much heralded pre-flight US immigration card scheme, has been further delayed. It went live in January as planned, but travellers are still required to fill in the I-94 green form for the time being. “We are now in a period of grace,” say the American authorities, civil service talk for a complete shambles. January 2010 is the new target date. To support the project the TSA (US Transportation Security Administration) now has set in motion a scheme whereby all travellers, both ways, are required to give their full name, date of birth, gender, ESTA number, passport number, country of issue and expiry date, plus flight details (an impractical) 72 hours prior to departure. The TSA has set an (impossible) target date of 15 August for this to be implemented. Stewart Harvey, Director of Client Management at HRG, the travel management company, is one of a number of senior travel industry people critical of the scheme. “Security for business travellers is a very important issue, but the governments and industry must work on a common platform. We welcome the new rules but what is really needed is industry world wide standards.” https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov
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