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Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses...With Your Documents Filed Electronically 72 Hours Before You Arrive
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Starting today, foreign visitors to the United States are going to have to register for their arrival before they get here. According to the BBC News, visitors to the US "will need to fill in an electronic form at least 72 hours before they travel," and "those who have not registered risk being detained and sent back home." These "electronic applications - known as Esta (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) - have to be approved by the US Department of Homeland Security."The fear is, however, that travelers will not be savvy to this new rule, and will either set off on their way without registering, or skip traveling to the US altogether--a move that could cripple our already endangered tourism revenue in these times of economic difficulties.
Those who are critical of the new rules believe the Esta system "will be an inconvenience for business travellers and could prove a disincentive to people who like to travel spontaneously and book last-minute weekend breaks to US cities." Considering the fact that Los Angeles has long prided itself on being a major international tourist destination, the new rules could be detrimental to our local economy, particularly when many Americans are opting not to travel within the 50 states either.
Fortunately, most applications are approved instantly (within 4 seconds, per reports from the London Foreign Office), it's just a matter of making sure people know about the process and get their paperwork filed in time to head off to America.
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