I’m dropping this post regarding the changed visa waiver policies for entering the USA.
I’ll be travelling to Mexico in January using Delta Airlines with a 3h layover in Atlanta (USA), both on the first flight (7 jan) as well as for the return flight (28 jan) back to Europe.
I’ve read in the press that people who visited the Islamic Republic of Iran since 2011 are not allowed to enter the USA on an ESTA. I’m a Belgian national who visited the Iran for tourist purposes (2 weeks) earlier this year and am a little confused whether I need to apply for a tourist/transit visa for entering the USA or not.
I've asked this question to the USA embassy but until now, It didn't get answered.
Could anyone please advise me?
In case I need to apply for a visa (I guess double entry transit visa?), I would like to know the procedure, costs and an estimation of the time I need to calculate for the follow up of the visa application, knowing the Christmas holidays are coming up.
Karen Van den Keybus
This U.S. State Department Web site should help answer some of your questions:
As a Belgian national, you should apply for an ESTA, even if you're passing through. If you receive approval, no worries. So, I'd apply as soon as you can.
Here's an excerpt from the Web site:
"According to recent statistics published by the Department of Homeland Security, over 99% of all ESTA applicants are approved within 5 seconds. However, if your application is denied, you will be required to apply for a United States visitor visa, such as a B-2 Tourist Visa."
While the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation to tighten the visa waiver program, it has yet to be approved by the U.S. Senate; and President Obama then has to sign the legislation into law.
Hope this helps.
[ Edit: Edited on 15-Dec-2015, at 08:19 by berner256 ]
This article in today's Wall Street Journal has answers to your questions: http://www.wsj.com/articles/congress-proceeds-with-travel-restrictions-on-foreigners-1450273957
From what I surmise, you're not likely to encounter problems since you're traveling soon. Once Congress approves the legislation (shortly), and the President signs it; the government will have to implement the requirements. That will take time. Read the entire article. It has useful information on ESTAs. My original recommendation stands: "I'd apply as soon as you can."
I would just offer a word of caution. Do not assume that just because you get an ESTA that you will be allowed in.We have just had a case in the UK of a family, that had their ESTA, not being allowed to travel. It is assumed that the reason is that they are Muslim. They were intending to visit their brother, who is resident in the U.S. and take their kids to Disneyland etc. They weren't allowed to fly and have been given no reason.