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ESTA for USA with side-trip

Essex
posts: 20,719
reviews: 71
ESTA for USA with side-trip

Hello everyone.

I am planning a trip to join my long-lost, recently found again American friend, in May, she lives in NJ.

The current plan is to fly out, spend a couple of days in NJ, then have a side-trip together, to "somewhere" in the Carribean.

After that, we will return to NJ for a few more days, then I will return to the UK.

I have already researched a bit, found the correct website to organise an ESTA, and looked at some relevent threads on TA.

I have read most of thr FAQs on - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html - and know it should be valid for the trip including the side jaunt (as long as it is approved).

However the website stipulates one must travel using approved carriers, and that if using a "non-signatory carrier" then pax need to have a Visa.

I am a bit concerned that some of the small airlines that go to the Islands, may not belong to the scheme, but I cannot find a list anywhere of those who are OK and those who are not.

Any help with this missing link to my research or just any general advice, would be much appreciated.

It is quite some time since I have travelled to "The States"! Pre 9/11 in fact, (when just filled in form for immigration on plane) and I have not tried a side trip before, either. I'd like to get things organised properly so all goes smoothly.

Many thanks in anticipation of whatever advice you can proffer

Regards, EW

Liverpool, UK
posts: 9,596
reviews: 14
1. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

I think most carriers to the US will be ok but you can check on the list published by the US Dept of State.

state.gov/documents/organization/87163.pdf

The ESTA website also has a drop down menu of carriers - check to see if your airline is included - if it is you're ok.

Edited: 5:33 pm, April 10, 2013
Essex
posts: 20,719
reviews: 71
2. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

Thanks for that list, Tom, it looks pretty comprehensive.

I have been all round the ESTA site, looking for the list, but can't seem to home in on it, somehow :-(

Any chance you could post a link? I must be doing something daft....

Liverpool, UK
posts: 9,596
reviews: 14
3. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

If you go into the ESTA site to complete the application you'll see a question relating to Carrier Name about halfway down the first page on the right hand side - this has a drop down menu of carriers, it's an extensive list and I assume it's a list of approved carriers.

Edited: 6:08 pm, April 10, 2013
Essex
posts: 20,719
reviews: 71
4. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

Oh, right, thanks a lot, you are a star!

I have not got that far yet, but it makes perfect sense!

Toronto, Canada
posts: 6,855
5. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

ESTA is just a pre-authorization for the Visa Waiver Program, so it's really the Visa Waiver Program signatory carriers you're looking for. (It might be much harder to find if you were searching for the ESTA carriers list.)

However, I believe you're misinterpreting the requirement. You're required to travel on a signatory carrier to be admitted to the US under the Visa Waiver Program by air; that carrier has to promise the US government to fly you home at their expense if anything goes wrong. But I don't think the same requirement applies to side-trips -- you're still the original carrier's responsibility for your entire 90 days. There's a hint of this situation at the very bottom of http://germany.usembassy.gov/visa/vwp/ .

Essex
posts: 20,719
reviews: 71
6. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

ESTA is sorted now, so will see what happens with the side-trip, once in the USA, I guess!

Makes a change to have a bit of an "Adventure" planned...

:-D

Essex
posts: 20,719
reviews: 71
7. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

All went well on my trip, no problems with the "side trip" clearly needless worrying, but you will have to forgive my rusty long-haul travelling skills for that!

As I said, everything was just soooo different, last time I went Stateside, also I was nervous about doing on-line check in, for the first time ever, now I laugh at myself, big time!!

Thanks again, Tom and matt, you really helped,

Regards, EW

Edited: 11:10 pm, May 21, 2013
Toronto, Canada
posts: 6,855
8. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

Glad it went smoothly. Out of curiosity, was the airline you used for the side trip on the signatory carriers list Tom posted, or not?

Essex
posts: 20,719
reviews: 71
9. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

Yes, it was United Airlines

But we went to the USVI, so I guess that, technically, didn't actually leave the US at all, in the end!

I did get a fairly thorough "quizzing" at immigration on the return trip to "Mainland USA" but not in a bad way....

Frankfurt, Germany
posts: 1,097
reviews: 3
10. Re: ESTA for USA with side-trip

<But we went to the USVI, so I guess that, technically, didn't actually leave the US at all, in the end!

I did get a fairly thorough "quizzing" at immigration on the return trip to "Mainland USA" but not in a bad way...>

Just out of curiosity, what exactly happens if you fly back from the USVI to the mainland? I've read that it is more like a simple ID check where foreign nationals have to show their passport and US citizens can use their driver's license?

Is there any long wait? And is that ID check done prior to departure or after arriving back on the mainland.