Travelers, airlines and tour operators are delighted to open the US borders on November 8th, and the regulations that must be met for a trip to the most popular travel destination for the Swiss are becoming more and more. But it is important to remember that even before the pandemic, entering the country was not an easy task. Every Swiss citizen must apply for an ESTA form before leaving. It can be refused on the day of departure without giving reasons, such as online news portal “Watson” In a detailed report. As a result, check-in cannot take place and the security agent has to contact the US authorities and obtain permission to board the plane – this can take anywhere from a quarter of an hour to several days. And it really gets on the nerves of the concerned passengers.
According to Swiss spokeswoman Elena Stern, the airline is aware that the US authorities will partially cancel the ESTA system. The reasons for this are unknown because the embassy in Bern is a low profile in this regard. “US authorities are controlling reservations for American travelers closely and rigorously,” Swissport spokeswoman Natalie Berchtold says on the online portal. Because of the pandemic, checks have been tightened. “We are seeing more efforts in terms of pre-boarding checks that are being imposed by the US authorities,” she explains.
At the moment, it happens almost every day at Zurich airport that clarifications must be submitted by phone with the US immigration authorities. Machines cannot be entered without their consent. Sometimes it also happens that permission arrives only after several hours – when the plane is already in the air. If such problems are known now, when only US citizens, their family members, and travelers with special permits are known, how will things go on November 8th?
Of course, it is wrong to jump to conclusions. In the report, Berchtold says: “We cannot rule out the possibility of longer waiting lists. We expect to increase efforts to control US flights, as more Swiss and Europeans will travel to the USA and Covid regulations must be checked individually.” A special counter will open for clarifications with Authorities Swissport already recommends arriving at the airport three hours before departure There is still a residual risk that not everyone will receive a travel permit from US authorities on time Berchtold has not said how many passengers have been affected so far this year.
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