Dutch citizens still don’t need USA visa

Dutch passport holders, including those who reside in Curaçao, St. Maarten, Aruba, Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire, continue to be eligible to travel to the United States (US) under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) by first applying for Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTA is accessible online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/

This was confirmed in a press release from the U.S. Consulate based in Curaçao. The Consulate was asked to comment after concerns were raised by a new entry on the website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The US Homeland Security website https://www.dhs.gov/visa-waiver- program-requirements says “citizens of the new countries of Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba and St. Maarten (the former Netherlands Antilles) are not eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme if they are applying for admission with passports from these countries.”

According to the Consulate release, as of April 1, a traveller must have an e-passport to use the VWP. An e-passport is an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip. Travellers can readily identify an e- Passport, because it has a unique international symbol on the cover. Passports issued by the Kingdom of the Netherlands bear this symbol.

The VWP allows visitors with passports from participating countries to travel to the US for business or pleasure for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. There is a US $14 fee to obtain the travel authorisation. Travel authorisations are generally valid for two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.

Travellers are asked to make sure to check the expiration date of the ESTA travel authorisation before finalising travel plans. The ESTA applications should be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel.

For additional information also available in English, Dutch and Spanish, travellers should print out the ESTA application response to maintain a record of their ESTA application number. The US Consulate General in Curaçao also strongly recommends that travellers carry a copy of the approved ESTA with them when travelling to the US.

The Daily Herald.

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