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How to fill in the new Visa Waiver Form – CPB Form 1-94W (05/08)
How to fill in the new Visa Waiver Form – CPB Form 1-94W (05/08)
If, like us, you have been travelling to the USA for some years then you will have had to fill in the green Visa Waiver Form each time you enter the country. It can feel pretty daunting! However, recently, a new version of this form has been introduced. Whilst the new ESTA system should have superseded the green Visa Waiver Form, at the moment it is still necessary to complete this, as well as processing your ESTA application. So if you are travelling to Orlando, in Florida, before the end of 2009, then you will most likely need to fill in this new green Visa Waiver form on your flight, ready to go through Immigration on arrival at either Sanford International Airport, Tampa or Orlando International Airport.
Most British visitors to the USA are allowed to travel using this visa waiver, instead of having to apply for a full visa from the US Embassy, but remember, you do need a machine readable or e-passport to take advantage of this programme. If you are not sure if you qualify for this then you must check out the US Embassy website before you go. Certain restrictions apply, as for example, if you have had a criminal record of any sort, you may need to apply for a visitor’s visa, and this will mean a trip to the American embassy in London. Be sure to organise this in plenty of time as at peak times you may have to wait for an appointment, and then wait for the visa to be issued. Whatever you do, don’t leave it to the last minute as if you arrive on the green visa waiver form and are not entitled to do so they will send you straight back, and no arguments!
The green Visa Waiver form is usually handed out to you on the aeroplane, although sometimes you will receive them at check in. You must complete one of these green forms for each person travelling with you. Children under the age of 14 must have their form signed by an adult. You will also be given a white U. S. Customs form to fill in, but you only need to complete one form per family, providing you all have the same family name. There is now a newer version of the green Visa Waiver Form which has more questions and which asks for your email address and telephone number.
Filling in the Visa Waiver form correctly is extremely important. They will not process you through Immigration unless the whole form is completed correctly, and without any mistakes or crossings out, so do take your time and be very careful before you start writing. If you do make a mistake which the immigration officer notices he will send you away to redo the form, and then you will have to join the end of the queue again – not much fun if another ‘plane full of passengers has now arrived. There are always extra copies of these forms available in the Immigration hall, usually at the back near the entrance. There are also work surfaces here where you can stand and fill them in.
You will need a pen to fill in the form, and don’t forget to use capital letters throughout – apart from your signature, of course! It may seem a little overwhelming, but you just need to take your time to make certain that you do not make mistakes. If you do make a mistake, ask the cabin crew on the plane for another copy.
Here are some tips to help you fill in the form:
Question 1 -This question asks for your Family Name – i. e. your surname.
Question 2 - This question asks for your First or Given Name – only put your first name here.
Question 3 - This question asks for your Birth-date. You can write this in UK format i. e. day, month and year.
Question 4 - This question asks for your Country of Citizenship. For those with a British passport this will be the United Kingdom.
Question 5 - This question asks for your Sex i. e. male/female
Question 6 – This question asks you for your Passport Issue Date, again you may use the UK format - day, month, year.
Question 7 – This question asks you for your Passport Expiration Date - day, month, year.
Question 8 – This question asks you for your Passport Number – do be careful when writing this in. Double check if it is correct. This is a very important question and to answer it you will probably need to retrieve your passport from your hand luggage before trying to fill this in. You will find this number on the page in your passport with your photograph.
Question 9 - This question asks for your Airline and Flight Number. This will be on your ticket and on your boarding card. If you are not sure ask one of the cabin crew to make sure you have the correct information. There is usually an airline code such as BA for British Airways, AA for American Airlines, or VS for Virgin, This will be followed by a number e. g. BA2037
Question 10 - This question is about the Country Where You Live. You may write either UK, England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Question 11 - This question asks you for the Country Where You Boarded.
Question 12 – This question asks for the City Where Visa Was Issued – You can leave this blank as you don’t have a visa.
Question 13 – This asks for the Date Issued – You can leave this blank, as you don’t have a visa.
Question 14 - This asks for your Address While in the United States (Number and Street). Put in the address of the hotel or villa where you are staying. If you have booked a private villa then your villa owner should have given you the address before you depart – including the zip code. Unfortunately, if you have booked through a tour operator you may be allocated upon arrival, so you won’t know your address at this stage. You will therefore need to put in the Tour Operators headquarters in Florida, so obtain this information before you leave the UK. Alternatively, you could put the address of the Management Company of the home you are staying in. Be sure to get this information before you fly.
Question 15 - This question is about the City and State. You can put abbreviations such as FL for Florida.
Question 16 – This question asks for your Telephone Number in the U. S. Where You Can Be Contacted – if you do not know your telephone number you may leave this blank.
Question 17 – This question asks for your E-mail Address – you can leave this blank. If you do decide to put in your email address you may find that there are not enough spaces for it – just fill it in as far as you can.
The next section, numbers 18 and 19 is for government use only so you don’t need to write anything at all here.
The Departure Record - this is found at the bottom of the form.
This is a very important section of the form and you must fill in the departure record now – this is the small bit at the bottom which will be torn off by the Immigration Officer in the USA. He may staple it to the inside of your passport, but in case he doesn’t, do make sure that you don’t lose it, as it must be removed when you check in for your departure flight.
If the person checking you in does not take it out, then make sure they do. If it is accidentally left inside your passport it could cause considerable problems should you decide to return to the USA. Technically, it means that you never left the USA as this form is confirmation of your departure from America.
If you return home and find this green portion of the form in your passport then you will need to contact the US Embassy for advice, as removal of this document shows that you have left the county.
Number 20 – this question asks for your Family Name
Number 21 – this question asks for your First (Given) Name
Number 22 – this question asks for your Birth Date – date, month, year.
Number 23 – this section asks you for your Country of Citizenship e. g. UK
Now you can turn over the page.
Here there is a series of questions, from A to G, and you must be able to answer ' NO' to all of these questions. If you cannot answer ‘No’ then you are not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Programme, and should have obtained a Visa instead, so you have a big problem as they could send you back! It is very important to check the US Embassy website BEFORE you go.
These questions relate to such things as being convicted or arrested, having been involved in Espionage or Sabotage, having communicable diseases (including HIV), having been refused entry to the US, etc.
Now you need to print your Family Name, your First Name, your Country of Citizenship and your Date of Birth.
Now you can sign the form, date it and its finished. Mind you don’t spill your drink on it or you will have to do it all again!
It is always advisable to get someone to check the form over for you at this stage, to make sure you haven’t made a mistake. It is very easy to make a mistake, so it is better to find out now than when you are at the beginning of the queue at Immigration.
When you reach the Immigration Hall, do remember to stand behind the line. This is very important, and is taken very seriously. Wait to be called over for your passport check, fingerprints and photo.
From here you have to go through Customs with your white Customs Declaration – one for each family. Then its off to the Baggage Hall to collect your luggage, off to get your Hire Car and then you are on your way!
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