The Visa Waiver Programme and the I-94 W form

A question many travellers ask before heading to the USA is whether they are required to fill in an I-94 W form in addition to their ESTA.

The I-94 W form used to be compulsory for ESTA authorisation holders. Nevertheless, since 2010, this is no longer the case. Several questions included in the ESTA application are those that feature on the I-94 W form, and therefore there is no need to repeat this information. It is important to note, however, that if you do not receive ESTA authorisation when travelling to the USA, you will need to fill this form in. It is not that the form is no longer used, but rather that it is already incorporated into the ESTA. 

For any travellers that visited the USA and filled in an I-94 W form, it should have been removed from your passport upon leaving the country. Returning the form is an obligatory step that allows the authorities to confirm that you are no longer in the country, and that you are not saying illegally. If for any reason your passport still contains either the I-94 or I-94 W forms (white and green respectively), you must get in touch with US authorities prior to travel, explaining the situation. It is a good idea write a detailed letter explaining the mistake before trying to enter US territory again. If this applies to you, write the letter to the following address, attaching the forgotten form:

ACS Inc.

1084 South Laurel Road

London, Kentucky 40744


All in all, the use of the I-94 W form has been abolished for ESTA holders to keep the process paper-free and as simple as possible. For this reason, travellers from Visa Waiver Programme countries do not need to carry any paperwork with them with regard to travel authorisation, and can simply apply for ESTA online. Applicants receive their approval status within 24 hours via email, and the ESTA is then valid for a period of 2 years. Any trip made within this time can last for a maximum of 90 days

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.

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