Mandatory Use of ESTA to Enter the United States by Land

| Post by

update icon

News updated on 17/10/2021

The United States government has announced that the US ESTA is now mandatory for citizens of all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries entering the United States by land.

This new policy will be introduced on October 1st, 2022. Visa-exempt travelers are still able to enter the US by land without a visa, but they will need to have an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

The ESTA permits the holder to enter the US for business or tourism purposes and stay for up to 90 days. Since 2008 this travel authorization has been mandatory to visit the US by any air or sea entry point. It is now a requirement for entering the country by land too.

The mandatory ESTA for land entry into the US replaces the I-94W form (Non-immigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record) which is currently required for access into the US by all northern and southern land borders.

According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), this new rule will:

“Produce a consistent, modern VWP admission policy, strengthen national security through enhanced traveler vetting, expedite entry processing at land ports of entry, collect Form I-94W information electronically, and reduce inadmissible traveler inspections, generating time and cost savings for CBP and VWP travelers.”

Mandatory ESTA Enter United States by Land

Who Needs ESTA to Enter the US by Land?

All citizens of Visa Waiver Program nations now need to show an approved ESTA to enter the US at a border crossing. These individuals don’t need a visa to cross the border but they must have this travel authorization.

All other nationalities need to follow the entry requirements for their country of citizenship, which usually includes having a US visa.

Will Canadians Need ESTA to Cross a US Land Border?

Canadians are visa-exempt and are also not required to apply for an ESTA to enter the US. With this new policy, Canadian visitors continue to be able to enter the US without a visa or ESTA travel authorization.

How to Get the ESTA to Travel to the US by Land

The process for obtaining an ESTA for land entry into the US is the same as for air or sea travel. Visitors can apply for the US ESTA quickly and easily online.

Visitors to the US who intend to enter the country by land must get a valid ESTA before arrival. Travelers are advised to request their travel authorization at least 72 hours before departure, in case of delays.

Can I use the same ESTA to enter by Land, Air, or Sea?

The ESTA travel authorization is the same document for entry by air, land, or sea. The new rule is just an extension of the already existing policy, which now covers all ports of entry into the US.

The US ESTA is valid for multiple entries into the country. The holder can use the same document to enter the US by numerous border crossings, provided it has not expired.

Related News

  • U.S. Tightens Visa Waiver Program for Hungarian Nationals

    In a significant move, the U.S. government has announced stringent changes to their Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for Hungarian nationals, impacting their ability to travel to the United States hassle-free. Effective in August 2023, the popular Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) will undergo modifications, reducing its validity period from 2 years to one year

    Read full article
  • US to End COVID Vaccine Rule for Air Travelers on May 11

    The US government has announced the end of COVID-19 vaccination requirements for travelers entering the country by air. The rules will be lifted on May 11, the same day that the coronavirus public health emergency in the USA ends. The US House of Representatives voted to remove this last remaining pandemic travel restriction for the

    Read full article
  • US Online Passport Renewal Pilot Program

    The US Department of State has announced the temporary reopening of the online portal for renewing American passports for a third pilot scheme since the electronic system was rolled out. “We are temporarily opening our online renewal service to new customers beginning October 11,” according to the State Department website. “Thank you for volunteering and

    Read full article
  • Negative COVID Test for Travel to the US No Longer Required

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have removed the requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test result to gain entry to the United States.  From June 12, 2022, the new rule applies to all travelers arriving in the US from any foreign country, either by air or any another form of transportation.

    Read full article