ESTA logoAn American ESTA is now mandatory for all US-bound air passengers, with travelers now required to complete the online form before departure.  All travellers to the US now must have an American ESTA.

The American ESTA, or Electronic System for Travel Authorization, gives travelers prior approval for entry to the US and replaces the green I-94 card that passengers previously filled in on the flight.

It applies to all 35 countries with the US “visa waiver” status including: the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Ireland.

The ESTA was first introduced a year ago, but as of today it is mandatory for all travellers visiting for 90 days or less and should be applied for at least 72 hours in advance. The ESTA is necessary whether you plan to travel to America for business or personal reasons.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • American Airlines has raised it’s baggage fee to $25 for the first bag and $35 for a second bag – following similar moves by Delta, United, Continental, and US Airways in recent days.  Exempted from the charge are first-class and frequent flyers and military personnel.
  • Looking for cheap Spring Break airfare?  Well, AirTran has launched a 3-day airfare sale for travel to destinations such as Florida, Aruba, Cancun, Montego Bay, Nassau and San Juan through March 10, 2010.  Fares are being advertised as low as $39 each way from select cities.  Also, check out a similar sale from Southwest Airlines that ends Thursday.
  • A blog called TheSpiritedWoman.com recently published an interesting list of the best travel websites that “keep us informed and enable us to be as prepared for our trips as possible.”  We’re thrilled to see Yapta make the short list – but you may also be interested in some of the others, like Trifter.com