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U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced changes to the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) processing timeframe for travellers to the United States.
Customers travelling to the United States must apply for an ESTA no later than 72 hours prior to flight departure. Applicants who apply less than 72 hours before travel risk not having an approved ESTA prior to departure and will be unable to travel on their scheduled booking to the USA.
Under the Visa Waiver Program, citizens of certain countries including Australia can travel to the United States for stays of 90 days or less without a visa, provided they meet eligibility requirements and obtain an ESTA prior to travel.
Previously, eligible travellers were able to obtain an ESTA any time prior to travel to the USA, however customers are advised that real-time approvals will no longer be available and they should apply as early as possible, ideally at the time of booking their trip.
ESTA applications will continue to be submitted via the official government website.