ESTA for USA

Travel Forums North America ESTA for USA

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11. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1570 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Borisborough

Is by-passing the US better than forking out USD160?? We'll look at flight options and make a decision in the next couple of months. :):)

I guess it will come down to flight times and prices, but there are minor factors like will you save time and hassle elsewhere compared to going through US immigration. Or if you want to deny them your "business" as punishment for them being difficult - I know this is too small for them to notice but sometimes it feels better, and numbers do add up. (I've not been to or through the US since they started running a concentration camp at Guantanamo.) Or is there another routing you'd prefer to see or support?

12. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 724 posts) 7w Star this if you like it!

>Is by-passing the US better than forking out USD160??

There may be alternatives for this trip, if cost & time aren't massive problems, but it also depends on what your future travel plans might be. Is it possible that other future trips might mean you won't be able to avoid US transit or that you might want to visit the US or US territory (e.g. Puerto Rico) at some point?

To be honest, I can't see the US changing that law/policy any time soon though I can certainly see them adding countries to the list (especially if 2020 produces the same president as they have now).

There is no guarantee that you'll get a visa so I wonder if it's worth biting the bullet and applying now, before you book this trip? Although it'll cost you money, at least you'll know for certain whether it's possible for you to be granted a visa (the official site certainly implies that exemptions are hard to come by) or whether all US transits & visits (including to overseas territories such as Puerto Rico) are absolutely out of the question until the law/policy changes.

Unless you can find viable alternative routing I certainly wouldn't book anything before you've got the visa issue sorted out.

13. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1307 posts) 1w 1 Star this if you like it!

OK - we had our interviews at the US Consulate in Auckland this morning - the short story is that we have been approved for ten year visas and our passports with visas will be available in three days' time.

My interview was a little less then ten minutes. The guy knew I was a teacher and worked out that we travelled during the NZ school holidays. I was asked about which countries I'd been to recently and I mentioned Sudan and Somaliland amongst others. "Why did you go?" - just to see what there was sight-seeing-wise there and take some photos. "Did you stay in Khartoum?" - no, we went up to the pyramids in Meroe too. "What's been the most surprising place you've been to?" - the volcano at Erta Ale is amazing with the bubbling lava but the number of discarded plastic water bottles was a disappointing eye-opener. "Where are you going next?" - Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus next month. "Have you been to Iran?" - not yet but ... "But it's on the list isn't it?" - yeah! - "OK, your visa is approved!"

And the air-flights from Sint Maarten via LA to Auckland are more than USD500 cheaper per person than any other route home at the moment.

14. Posted by BeateR (Budding Member 32 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Congratulations !!!!!!

Beate

15. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 724 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Very pleased indeed to hear you got your visas ok...and relatively easily. :-)

I'm sure there are thousands of genuine people who have visited the countries on the list since 2011: travellers like yourself, aid workers and volunteers, those who are or were working for charities or NGOs etc etc. The fact that genuine applicants can be granted exemptions does at least show that the CBP is willing to be reasonable, if only at the present time.

16. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1087 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Just be aware that with our current President, things can change in the time it takes to tweet one tweet. It is also completely unpredictable.

17. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 724 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

>Just be aware that with our current President, things can change in the time it takes to tweet one tweet. It is also completely unpredictable.

Exactly so. Hence my 'if only at the present time' comment. :-/

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