Department of Homeland Security launches Electronic System for Travel Authorization

by Volker Weber

Welcome to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization Web Site.

International travelers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are now subject to enhanced security requirements. All eligible travelers who wish to travel under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization using the following process:

More >

The first thing you see is this disclaimer:

This Department of Homeland Security (DHS) computer system and any related equipment is subject to monitoring for administrative oversight, law enforcement, criminal investigative purposes, inquiries into alleged wrongdoing or misuse, and to ensure proper performance of applicable security features and procedures. As part of this monitoring, DHS may acquire, access, retain, intercept, capture, retrieve, record, read, inspect, analyze, audit, copy and disclose any information processed, transmitted, received, communicated, and stored within the computer system. If monitoring reveals possible misuse or criminal activity, notice of such may be provided to appropriate supervisory personnel and law enforcement officials. DHS may conduct these activities in any manner without further notice. By clicking OK below or by using this system, you consent to the terms set forth in this notice


This Web site [...] employs technology to prevent unauthorized access to the information you enter and view.

Good to know that nobody will ever find out whether applicants have a communicable disease...

Jan-Piet Mens, 2008-08-27

Makes you feel about as welcome as herpes.

Kerr Rainey, 2008-08-27


Gerry Shappell, 2008-08-27

Land of the free, home of the brave.

Ben Poole, 2008-08-27

It might not be so for Germans but for czech citizens the new "Visa Waiver Program" is an significant improvement. Now they can apply for a visa easily through the internet and get a permission (or denial !) for the next day. Before this you needed to apply for a visa personaly at the ambassy in Prague, fill forms, pay a fee and wait many days for a result.
(PS: I never had to because i have an Austrian citizneship)

And by the way Schengen (or maybe it is only here in CZ) is not "nice" to many other countries as well. I had the opportunity to watch the mertyrium as one of our collegues from the Ukraine, who is livning an working here completly legaly, wanted to get two of his kids to visit him. I don't remember it in detail but it really took him 3 days of vaccation which he spend waiting in line at some offices. Then he had to do a deposit of some 3000 EUR for some time, pay many fees, and at last he got a permission only for one child at a time ! I was really ashamed of the way they treated him.
I am sure that the procedure would obviously be quite different for someone from the UK/US :-)

Hynek Kobelka, 2008-08-27

And here is the version for the hearing impaired (starts at about 1:00).

Ole Saalmann, 2008-08-27

@replacesubstring("computer system";"brain")
and you get a nice extension to the disclaimer. However maybe I don't have to walk to the Swan at Lotusphere to get a connection....
My advice (I'll do): put in a cheap disk with DOS 5.0 and maybe Windows for Workgroups 3.11, and leave your data disk in your checked luggage.
For Lotusphere: leave your notebook at home, start to talk to physically available people, listen to the speaker and have fun.

Andreas Grün, 2008-08-27

Andreas, storing your disk in checked baggage won't do you any good. It's an invitation to have it stolen. If they go as far as to scan your computer, they will also look through your checked luggage and at places the sun never sees. Remember, these people have all the time in the world.

Volker Weber, 2008-08-27

I note that I am able to dismiss that dialog by pressing "esc" in Firefox...

Simon Phipps, 2008-08-28

they will also look through your checked luggage

They do. It happened to me a couple of weeks ago. If baggage is unlocked they leave a visiting card, otherwise they break the locks and leave the card.

I maintain it is time the Europeans start to retaliate -- subject Americans to equal treatment (photos, fingerprints, idiotic questions) when they visit the EU.

Jan-Piet Mens, 2008-08-28

@volker: I was just joking. I would never put my data into checked luggage. 4 weeks ago mine was lost somewhere between Hambug and Dublin. Maybe one of these USB-Drives keep them searching. :-)

Andreas Gruen, 2008-08-28

What will happen with the person after arriving if I log in and file him as previously convicted (e. g. for drug abuse or child porn)? Is there any security build in?

Otherwise it must be a great gift for while-collar criminal to put a competitor out of business...

Richard Kaufmann, 2008-08-28

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