This week, The New Zealand Herald reported on an incident involving one of their journalists, Barry Soper. He was recently denied boarding for Air New Zealand flight, NZ2 from Auckland to London, as he didn’t have an ESTA for travel to the USA. Because NZ2 transits in Los Angeles, passengers on this flight need to obtain the ESTA Visa Waiver in order to board.
The aircraft spends 2 hours and 5 minutes in Los Angeles, but passengers are still required to obtain authority to land in the USA, whether that is in the form of an ESTA Visa Waiver (which can be applied for online for a fee of $14), or a non-immigrant visa if you do not qualify.
This traveller had a second issue – he had travelled to Iraq in 2015. One of the conditions of the ESTA Visa Waiver Program, is that travellers cannot have entered the countries of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya or Syria on or after 1st March, 2011. If you have entered one of these countries, a non-immigrant visa has to be obtained from the US Embassy, by appointment in person.
Stories like this are a reminder that even very seasoned travellers can be caught out by visas and immigration. APX consultants advise visa requirements at the time of quoting, but if you have any concerns or queries regarding passport limitations or visas, let us know. It’s all part of our service to you.