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Arrival to the USA via sea on an ESTA - possible?

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RTW
posts: 6
reviews: 1
Arrival to the USA via sea on an ESTA - possible?

Hi,

I'm a UK citizen already in the possession of an ESTA so that I can travel to the USA.

However, I would like to travel to the USA from Japan via sea. According to a freight travel agency I contacted (Strand Travel - http://www.strandtravelltd.co.uk), it is not possible to arrive in the USA via sea with the use of an ESTA. They informed me that I must have a US visa in order to travel in this way. The ESTA can only be used for travel to the USA by air.

However, according to this website (http://www.estaamerica.com):

"You can enter the United States through the Visa Waiver Program via land, air or sea, but an approved travel authorization is only related to air and sea entries."

So, I've been getting conflicting information on this matter and I would like a firm and reliable answer. Does anyone have experience from a similar situation? Has someone travelled to the States by sea on an ESTA before?

If it is possible, the next step is to find a freight ship or cruise ship that will take me there from Japan or China. So far, I'm turning up no results. Can anyone help with this too?

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Washington
posts: 5,164
reviews: 7
1. Re: Arrival to the USA via sea on an ESTA - possible?

As far as I understand an ESTA is required for entering/transiting through the US via airplane or by sea. I would consult the US Embassy in London for clarification on tourism/immigration requirements prior to your arrival. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) info: http://london.usembassy.gov/vwp.html

VWP 'Wizard' …usembassy.gov/root/…index.html

I know nothing of maritime law, but would highly doubt that a cargo ship would transport you unless you were working on board. You might peruse the Cruise Critic or TripAdvisor Cruise forums for travel via ship between Asia and the US. tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i10703-Cruises.…

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
posts: 16,764
reviews: 45
2. Re: Arrival to the USA via sea on an ESTA - possible?

"Back in the day...", while bumming around the US and onward, I took cargo ship to England and Paris, spartan but enjoyable. Brought back memories; wonder too if the cargo ships still take passengers. Returned on the Queen Elizabeth; less spartan more enjoyable. :)

While in a bar in Paris, I met the fellow responsible for gathering art for the Seattle World's Fair.

Edited: 10:18 am, July 05, 2013
Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
posts: 16,764
reviews: 45
3. Re: Arrival to the USA via sea on an ESTA - possible?

PS He ran, perhaps still does, a prominent art gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square. Small world, as I lived in New England at the time of these travels.

Edited: 10:19 am, July 05, 2013
RTW
posts: 6
reviews: 1
4. Re: Arrival to the USA via sea on an ESTA - possible?

Any useful answers would be much appreciated.

Amsterdam, The...
posts: 1
reviews: 3
5. Re: Arrival to the USA via sea on an ESTA - possible?

It is possible to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA), but unfortunately not if you travel by cargo vessel. The reason is that these are not signatory VWP carriers, so you will need a B1/B2 tourist visa instead. Cruise lines are typically signatory carriers, so then the VWP does apply.

6. Re: Arrival to the USA via sea on an ESTA - possible?

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