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Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

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Nottingham, UK
posts: 33
reviews: 5
Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

I've read several topics on the forums about making the trip from Victoria to Seattle (on the Clipper) and the requirement, or not, to obtain an ESTA if you are from a VWP country (UK). From what I have seen the answer is NO an ESTA is not required but the visa waiver form does need to be filled in (on the clipper?)

Can someone 100% confirm this please?

I have seen the text here https:/…20ferries and several posts on the forums stating how bad the wording is, but as you can imagine its a long way to travel from the UK and then discover we got it wrong and we do need one!

Thank you.

11 replies to this topic
West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 54,797
reviews: 69
1. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

Hi Hol_Lover_9;

The American ESTA program is NOT used for land crossings from Canada into the US.

" VWP citizens do not need an ESTA to travel on the ferries between Vancouver and Victoria, BC and Washington state. They are treated as a land border port."

https:/…

Yes, as citizens of the UK, you will need to apply for an I-94W Visa Waiver.

Best Regards

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
posts: 6,672
reviews: 70
2. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

You will go through US Immigration/Customs on the Victoria side before you board the Clipper. I seem to remember they opened about 1 hour before the sailing. You will do your I-94W then if you haven't already obtained one.

Nottingham, UK
posts: 33
reviews: 5
3. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

Thank you both. We won't have obtained the I-94W by this point as we arrive from the UK into Vancouver and depart Canada at Victoria on the way to Seattle (Clipper).

Not really important, but why is the ferry route from Victoria to Washington state classed as a land border? Makes life easier (and cheaper) for us, but I don't get it!

Thanks.

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
posts: 6,672
reviews: 70
4. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

You aren't flying...you are traversing the "land" although it is covered by water.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 6,855
5. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

The whole idea behind ESTA is to turn obviously-inadmissible people away before they reach US soil. At a regular land border point, that's as simple as telling them to make a U-turn in their car. Or, for the Clipper, they simply wouldn't allow them through pre-clearance in Victoria.

ESTA has much greater value when somebody gets prevented from boarding a plane or cruise ship on the other side of the Atlantic.

Edited: 9:12 pm, May 15, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 31,912
reviews: 51
6. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

The 3 ferries that provide service to Victoria are all American: Black Ball's Coho, Washington State ferry, and Victoria Clipper. The US Government simply decided to exempt those 3 routes from the "arriving by ship ESTA requirement." I don't know why, perhaps because they act as marine highways rather than ships? You do not apply in advance for an I94W, you fill it out when you are going through US Customs pre-clearance and boarding the ship.

Nottingham, UK
posts: 33
reviews: 5
7. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

Just as a final update to this post. We recently made the trip and were told they are going to start requiring an esta. Unfortunately I didn't ask when and US customs didn't volunteer the information but she made it clear that it was coming. So I suggest others in a similar position keep their eyes peeled for a changing position.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 31,912
reviews: 51
8. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

Good to know! Thanks for that. I know there has been some talk on the Ontario forums and even on the TSA website, but it's not easy to figure out what changes are in process.

Reading
posts: 4
reviews: 2
9. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

Thanks for the update. I'm doing exactly the same trip in August (flight into Vancouver and boat from Victoria to US.)

I had assumed we would need ESTA until I read the earlier posts that it was treated as a land border but now I am wondering again!

Reading
posts: 4
reviews: 2
10. Re: Victoria to Seattle (Clipper) ESTA and VWP country resident

Thanks for the update. I'm doing exactly the same trip in August (flight into Vancouver and boat from Victoria to US.)

I had assumed we would need ESTA until I read the earlier posts that it was treated as a land border but now I am wondering again!

Edited: 6:00 pm, May 21, 2014
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