Category Archive: News

What is the Schengen Information System

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There has been an increased interest in the Schengen Information System (SIS) recently. The tragic events in Germany has highlighted the need for sharing information across borders. Initiatives such as ETIAS and ESTA aim to improve national security. So what is the Schengen Information System?

This massive database was set up in 1995 when the EU abolished internal border controls. . It has contributed to maintaining internal security and fighting cross border crime on the external Schengen borders. Recent proposals aim to make it even more effective and efficient.

What does SIS contain?

The system contains information on individuals who don’t have permission to enter or stay in the Schengen area. It includes those who are wanted for criminal activities. It also contains information on missing persons, children at risk, and other vulnerable individuals.

It’s not just people. It holds details of objects, for example, vehicles, firearms, boats and identification documents. These may have been lost or stolen, or used to carry out a crime. Instructions detailing what action the border security should do are also included.

Who has access to SIS?

It is important that a database which contains sensitive personal information is secure. Authorities may only access the data relevant to carry out their jobs. These users include border control officials, the police, customs and excise, and the judiciary.

Europol and Eurojust have limited access but recent proposals will give them more rights. The Security Union is including more agencies. For instance, the new European Border and Coast Guard Agency, plane and boat registration bodies, and ETIAS.

How does SIS protect the information?

It is important that a database which contains personal information is secure. Recent technological advances have ensured that some of the data are sophisticated and sensitive.  It isn’t just photographs and fingerprints. Recent proposals mean that they will add palm prints and DNA profiles.

The new Data Protection Regulation will improve system security and maintenance. It introduces safeguards ensuring that data collection, processing, and access is limited to what is necessary.  Member States are liable for penalties if breaches cause damage to a person. For instance, inaccurate data or unlawful storage of data.

Future improvements

Apart from the new personal information content, and increased data protection, the security union has proposed other operational and technical improvements. They want to improve information sharing and cooperation between Member States.

Terrorism prevention is a priority so they will introduce new ‘inquiry check’. Better protection of children with a high risk of abduction will be achieved through preventive alerts.  Counterfeiting alerts will be issued on a wider range of stolen or falsified goods.

Has the system produced results?

At the end of 2013, there were just over 50 million alerts in the system. By November 2016, that number had grown to nearly 70 million. Competent authorities accessed the SIS 2.9 billion times in 2015, a billion times more than in 2014.

In reality this means that over 25,000 people were arrested. Around 72,000 serious criminals and security threats were located. And over 97,000 cases concerning stolen vehicles, misuse of documents, stolen firearms, and other lost or stolen property were solved.

The changes are expected to come into force 2021.

ETIAS Legislation

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Security in Europe goes to the heart of the Union and it is more important than ever before. Recent events need a unified response to terror threats. Terrorists don’t respect national borders. This is why President Juncker created a new Security Union portfolio in August 2016. This has resulted in many major security initiatives. Some have recently come to fruition, and some are still in progress.

ETIAS

Prevention is better than cure. Systematic checks before people reach borders is essential to prevent terrorists entering the EU.  On 16 November the Commission established a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). This comprehensive security initiative is ETIAS’s equivalent to the US ESTA scheme. This strengthens security checks on visa-free travellers. The system will conduct prior checks and either issue or refuse travel authorisation.

National border guards will always take the final decision to grant or refuse entry. But the extra information will help. Third-country nationals are already subject to systematic document and security checks. But it’s not just entry which is important. They will introduce checks on people leaving the Schengen area too.

The various databases will be crucial in the fight against terrorism. This includes the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Documents Database (SLTD), relevant national systems and Interpol databases. The balance between privacy and security is delicate. All checks will respect data protection rules and the EU’s legislation on fundamental rights.

The legislative process for ETIAS is almost complete. The speed of this legislation is in response to last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris. The European Parliament recently agreed to the Commission’s proposal to introduce mandatory border checks for all. The Commission expects a prompt adoption of the proposal into legislation.

European Border and Coast Guard

Checks and documentation are important but extra personnel is essential. The recently created European Border and Coast Guard Agency will provide practical help. Through Frontex, they will be able to deploy as many as 1500 EU border guards at short notice to assist member states.

Frontex is a specialist rapid reaction pool. It includes border surveillance officers, registration and finger scanning experts, and nationality screening experts. To function, this expert group of personnel will needs appropriate equipment. Member states have agreed to supply the necessary technology, including vehicles, vessels and aircraft.

The rapid reaction pool will be an addition to the regular deployment of officers in Frontex operations at EU’s external borders. We don’t want emergency situations at EU external borders, but preparation is crucial.

Other legislation and initiatives

The latest Security Union progress report listed other European Parliament legislative priorities for 2016-2017. They need to reach agreement on other security focused Commission proposals. This includes the Directive on Combatting Terrorism, and the Firearms Directive. In December, the Commission presents the final package about money laundering and terrorist financing.

We need to stop people from getting involved in violent extremism in the first place. The security of Europe relies on protecting young people from radicalisation. The Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) was set up to encourage young people to get involved in prevention work. The EU Internet Forum explored ways to prevent online radicalisation and internet terrorist propaganda.

Security

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Information screening such as ETIAS and ESTA are essential for the safety of international borders. The European Agenda on Security are overseeing online security as well as implementing new border controls. Their focus is on cyber-crime and terrorism cyber-crime. This is where unified cross-border initiatives can be effective in policing and prevention.

One of these initiatives is the EU Internet Forum. It represents one of the key security commitments announced by the Commission in April 2015. Their discussions will look at ways to protect the public from terrorist propaganda. It will also ensure that potential communications between terrorists are monitored and shut down. There will also be conversations about how to use the internet to challenge hate speech and radicalisation.

The forum brings together many high profile public and private entities. For instance, EU Interior Ministers, Europol, the EU Counter Terrorism Co-ordinator and the European Parliament. Getting the big tech companies onside is crucial. Given that both the solution and the problem are online, the forum will be reliant on the co-operation of web giants.

Representatives from Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook and YouTube recently attended the latest EU Internet Forum. They took this opportunity to announce plans to delete extremist content. They have agreed to create a shared industry database of digital fingerprints, called ‘hashes’. So when one platform identifies terrorist imagery, they can alert others. They can then review the content and decide whether it contravenes their own content policies. They hope that other social media platforms will get involved.

In fairness, the extreme images violate all providers’ policies. But it is the philosophy of corporations collaborating with member states that is new. Authorities have had protracted battles with tech companies. As private concerns, they are obliged to abide by relevant national laws. But they have been under pressure about privacy, advertising, taxation, and competition. These companies are vast in scope and influence so I wonder what else is under discussion.

Governments have a duty to protect citizens from terrorist activities. But they have to balance users’ freedom of expression. Facebook and others were swift to reassure their users that they will share no identifiable information. They say they are committed to protecting users’ privacy and their ability to express themselves.

The forum is aware of the importance of citizens’ freedoms. As they point out, tackling online hate speech is a delicate exercise. It requires somebody to define where freedom of expression stops and where hate speech starts. It matters who this ‘somebody’ is. A legislature will have differing views from Facebook, the general population, or a ‘freedom fighter’.

The focus is currently on terrorism. Some commentators have expressed concerns that if governments can exert pressure on this, what else is next? Intellectual property or health information are both areas of contention. These companies hold vast amounts of information which governments might want to see. In the meantime it is reassuring we can use online data to protect innocent citizens. We need to prevent atrocities such that we have seen in France and other parts of Europe.

 

ETIAS & What It Means For You

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By January 2020 certain prospective visitors to the Schengen zone will be required to obtain permission to enter it before they travel. There has been speculation in the press about the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), and as of 16 November 2016, we have a clearer idea of its implementation and how it will work in practice.

 

ETIAS is the EU’s version of the US ESTA scheme. It was announced in September 2016’s State of the Union address, where President Juncker provided an outline of all planned EU-wide initiatives. However, as promised, the EU Commission recently released a detailed proposal about the scheme. To become law across the EU, it will have to go before the European Parliament and Council. 

 

Who will be affected by this? 

 

People who have applied for, and carry visas are well documented. The authorities feel that they don’t know enough about other travellers who do not have visas and are not EU citizens; so-called ‘visa-exempt third country nationals’. Everyone in this category will have to pay to undergo an online security check before travelling. They say if they know who is travelling and where, it will make borders more secure. 

 

When we leave the EU, people with a UK passport entering the Schengen zone will also be subject to this check.

 

We are facing global threats which necessitate costly checks on predominantly innocent people. The atrocities committed by terrorists within the Schengen zone have shaken the ideological foundations of the Union. The desire for open borders post-WW2 has sadly given way to an insecure feeling modern world.

 

What will be checked and how? 

 

The system is promising to be quick and simple. You will access the service from the official app or website, and enter your passport and contact details. It will check and verify your information with cross-border databases, e.g., Interpol, Europol, Eurodac, the ETIAS watch-list. If there is a suggestion that you pose a risk to security or public health you will be denied authorisation for travel. However in the majority of cases, there will be no hits and authorisation should arrive in a matter of minutes. They are proposing that it will cost €5 per person over the age of 18 and will be valid for 5 years.

 

If you are denied permission you are allowed to appeal. They indicate that you will have to check with the country which has refused you entry, and it will be subject to their national laws. 

 

Ironically the members of the European Parliament were critical of the US ESTA scheme when it was launched. As it was originally justified as a tourist tax, they worried about how the scheme would impact on tourism; however, the focus is now unashamedly on security. It will be interesting to hear the up-coming parliamentary debates on ETIAS and how the changing climate of fear will appear in the rhetoric.

ESTA Visa Brexit FAQ

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What cost travel for UK Nationals after Brexit?

The certainty that the UK will be leaving the European Union is one of the most significant political event to occur in many years. Rarely has there been so much discussion about a single article of a European treaty outside the legal community, but now everyone appears to be an Article 50 expert.

Brexit will have an impact on many areas of our lives, but of immediate area of concern for British passport holders is the future of Eurozone travel. From what the prime minister has said about immigration and freedom of movement so far, it seems likely borders will become more restrictive, and we may have to apply and pay a fee to cross them.

UK made over 30 million visits to EU in 2015

UK nationals take it for granted that they can freely hop on a flight, train or ferry to anywhere in the European Union or European Economic Area, from Iceland to Greece, Madeira to Latvia. The latest Office of National Statistics Travel Trends 2015 demonstrates how important this is as there were an astonishing 30+ million holiday trips to EU countries last year. However if the UK is going require more stringent checks on visitor of all kinds, then the reverse is true. Holiday makers must accept that Brexit will adversely affect their EU travel plans.

Proposal of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System

The same fear of illegal immigration and threats of terrorism are causing consternation worldwide. Three months before the UK’s June referendum, it is no coincidence that the EU launched a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

The Commission says that ‘ETIAS would determine the eligibility of all visa-exempt third country nationals to travel to the Schengen Area, and whether such travel poses a security or migration risk. Information on travellers would be gathered prior to their trip’. Consultation and further information will be published in November 2016 but it has been reported that France and Germany both back a system based on the US Electronic System for Travel Authorization scheme.

US Electronic System for Travel Authorization scheme

ESTA is an automated system that helps check an individual’s eligibility to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). On payment of a fee, it essentially checks whether you are a law enforcement or security risk, and you are then cleared for travel – or not.

Information that you are obliged to share, including biometric data via fingerprinting and facial scans, is stored upwards of 12 years and safely kept for ‘security purposes’. People who already have a valid visa to travel to the States are not obliged to apply using ESTA.

Currently, although UK nationals must show a valid passport to enter the 26-country Schengen zone, they can then travel freely within it. But what happens after Brexit is anyone’s guess. If ETIAS goes ahead, and without a sensible travel agreement being negotiated, it seems likely that British passport holders will have to apply and pay for permission to enter and travel within this area. There are many details to be worked out, but it is certain that EU travel will never be as simple or as cheap as it has been.

How the Recent Brexit is Affecting Your Travel to the USA

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Are you travelling to the US soon? Despite the recent fall in the pound, the reasons to go this time of year are many; for instance, the dramatic autumnal leaves display in rural New England, traditional Halloween celebrations in Salem, or even just a pre-Christmas shopping session in New York. But whatever your reason, there are a number of potentially trip-spoiling administrative tasks to sort out before packing your bags. Below I outline some of the new rules and regulations you should take into account.

There were a number of reports in the UK press earlier this year which discussed the impact of a relatively obscure piece of US legislation. It was introduced by the US government as a response to the tragic San Bernadino shooting, and their growing fear around global security. Therefore visitors need to be aware of ‘improvements’ the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act 2015 made to the existing visa waiver programme (VWP).

Originally the VWP was created to allow and encourage freedom of travel, unlike the more stringent and complicated visa system. Provided you weren’t going there to study, work, or look for permanent residence, it enabled most people from many parts of the world to travel to the United States without a visa. So in reality what do these changes mean for eligible visa-free tourists?

The first major issue might be your passport. Many issues that British tourists faced were caused by old type passports. Although there are relatively few left in circulation, a number of people were left unhappy and out of pocket when they got to the airport and weren’t allowed to check in. If you still have a passport that was issued prior to 2007, it is urgently recommended that you get a new biometric ‘e-passport’. These are the only ones now accepted by the US authorities. 

In addition to being able to travel to the US, there are other good reason for getting your passport replaced. Although you can wait in line to get your passport checked by an immigration official if you wish, with an e-passport you can use the new automatic gates at passport control. Simply place your open passport on the glass panel, wait a few seconds, and the gate opens. Anything which reduces the stressful wait at airport immigration is a bonus!

Secondly you are now required to register your details online via the US Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) website. This is an automated system and determines your eligibility for travel. It is strongly recommended that you check your ESTA status prior to making any travel reservations or travelling to the United States. There is a fee payable for this mandatory service but it is valid for a couple of years. 

As airlines and tour operators have made clear, it is your responsibility to ensure you have the right documentation before you travel. Always double check with your operator if you are in any doubt, and don’t allow any travel hiccups to jeopardise your precious holiday time abroad.

A Parent’s Guide to Visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando

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With the summer holidays fast approaching many people begin their long awaited trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Disney World is a fantasy land and something that will leave all first time visitors very impressed, especially the little ones. While Disney makes everything possible to guarantee an enjoyable visit, it is important to get a few tips to enjoy your trip even more. Hurry and apply online for your ESTA authorization to enjoy this family destination!

  1. Try to Stay in a Disney Hotel or Resort. Disney hotels are more expensive than hotels outside of the theme park but offer many benefits including the FastPass (explained in the next point) and also your children will enjoy having Disney characters such as Mickey, Minnie or Donald Duck join them for lunch or dinner.
  2. Get as many Fast Passes as possible. The lines or queues and waiting times for rides in Disney can be very long. With a FastPass you are able to go the front of the line without any delays whatsoever. Staying in a Disney hotel or resort entitles you and each family member to 3 FastPasses per day. Being friendly with your Disney hotel concierge can help you secure more FastPasses.
  3. Visit one Disney park per day.If you travel with small children it is highly recommended that you stick to one park per day such as Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom or Epcot and stick to the rides in that park. Going from park to park in one day will be very time consuming, will require very long walks and will tire your children greatly.
  4. Consider renting a stroller even for older children. Even if your children are seven or eight years old you should consider renting a stroller when you enter the theme parks. The walks, crowds and weather can really tire them and it will get to a point where they won’t want to walk anymore and will not enjoy as many attractions as they could otherwise.
    5. Take plenty of sunscreen and rain gear. If visiting Orlando during the summer there will be a mix of extreme sun and heat and rain and thunderstorms. Do make sure that you and your children are well protected with sunscreen and remember to have umbrellas or rain ponchos to cover you so that you can continue enjoying the rides even with adverse weather.
  5. Plan all your meals ahead of time. Making reservations in all restaurants ahead of time is very important as they get full very quickly and getting a table by walking in can be impossible in many restaurants. Especially if you want your children to greet the Disney characters then it will be crucial to reserve your dining options in advance.
  6. Enjoy your hotel pool in the morning. Disney hotels pools can be an attraction all on their own but can get extremely busy in the afternoons after people have returned from the theme parks. If you want to enjoy the pool without the crowds then you should consider going in the morning before heading to the theme parks.
  7. Watch the fireworks outside of Cinderella Castle. Watching the fireworks display is a magical experience and will highlight the wonders of visiting Disney.

Visiting Disney World is a magical experience for the whole family. Planning ahead of time is crucial in ensuring that you make the most of your stay. Disney World can be overwhelming with the crowds and weather so it is very important to have a very organized plan in order to enjoy every day to the fullest.

What to Do If You Need Medical Care While Visiting the United States

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Unexpected medical situations can arise anytime – even during a relaxing holiday.  For this reason it is important to understand what to do if something happens while abroad.  The United States in particular has a medical care system that is very different from what visitors from other countries are accustomed to.  What is critical to understand is that after you apply for your USA ESTA you should also apply for health care insurance to cover you while in the United States.  Not having insurance can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

 

  1. The medical care system in the United States is mostly PRIVATE. This means that with a few exceptions all people – including Americans – must have private health insurance to cover their medical treatment.  When you purchase international health insurance you are purchasing a private health insurance program that will cover you in the United States.
  2. Your national health insurance card in your country is not valid in the United States. Please remember that the system in the United States is completely different and your country’s health insurance card is not valid in America.
  3. Medical care is very expensive in the United States. Simple procedures such as an x-ray or an electrocardiogram that in your home country can cost a few hundred dollars can cost in thousands in the United States.  Make sure your medical coverage is high enough to cover the cost of a medical emergency.
  4. You could have to pay upfront. Depending on the hospital or medical center you visit they could potentially require you to pay for your treatment upfront and then seek reimbursement from your health insurance company.  Make sure your credit card has a high limit in case you have to pay high upfront charges.
  5. In case of an emergency dial 911. But also remember that the cost of the ambulance will be charged to you or to your insurance company and this can be very expensive.
  6. There will be many forms to fill out. Visiting a health care facility in the United States requires a lot of patience as you will have to fill out what seems like an endless number of forms.  This is due to the complex American legal system where doctors and medical establishments want to ensure they are not sued in the courts.
  7. Doctors are usually quick and to the point. Prior to your doctor seeing you, you will be seen by nurses or doctor assistants who will do the procedures your doctor back home usually does such as taking your blood pressure, heart rate, etc.  The doctor will finally see you and will usually make a quick diagnosis and be on his/her away quickly.
  8. Waiting times in the Emergency Room (ER) can be very long. Depending on the medical facility and the location, waiting times in the ER can take several hours.  Many of these facilities are very busy with patients and if you do not have a life or death situation they will make you wait.
  9. If you do not have medical insurance the bill will be sent to your home country address. In the worst case scenario where you do not have travel insurance and do not have the financial means to pay for the medical care you received, your contact information will be taken and a bill will be sent to your home address.  Please note that paying this bill is extremely important as not paying it can cause problems for you in visiting the United States in the future.  Even if you cannot pay the whole bill upfront you will be able to establish a payment plan with the medical establishment.

 

It is important to note that medical care in the United States is generally superb and if you do find yourself requiring emergency or other medical care you can be most certain that you will be treated professionally and with good care.  The government in the United States has been making reforms to the health care sector to try to reduce some of the very high prices charged for routine procedures but this will not apply to you as a visitor since you will be charged the ordinary rates.  Do remember that after applying online for your ESTA you should immediately apply for a travel health insurance policy that will properly cover you while in the United States.

The Best Beaches In Florida

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Florida – also called the Sunshine State – attracts with over 1,930 km the finest sandy beaches and therefore offers the tourists numerous bathing opportunities and water sports. A beach holiday in Florida can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. But before you book your flight, you need to fill the United States ESTA application form.

There are also many spare time activities in addition to relaxing on the beach – you can find in Florida alone over 1,250 golf courses on which the Florida travellers can improve their handicaps. The Sunshine State has a total of 19 civil airports – including 5 international airports – This makes the trip to the beach paradise very easy. Whether on the beach of Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale or in the exclusive Naples and Palm Beach: The beaches are never crowded! Ideal for the entire family, and anybody who wants to relax, take extensive beach walks or play with beach toys. Officially there are also 4 seasons in Florida but this US state is always an ideal destination for a beach holiday, because even in the winter is the average temperature is approx. 18°C – perfect to relax on the beaches of Florida. If you want to escape the freezing temperatures in other parts of the world and you need an ESTA visa to enter the USA then hurry and fill an ESTA application. ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the USA Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The USA ESTA application gathers biographic information and replies to eligibility questions. The USA ESTA application form can be found on the web an online application can easily be submitted.

Lummus Park Miami Beach

The Lummus Park in South Beach is part of the Deco District and has been the backdrop for many television or film scenes. Perhaps not the most beautiful beach, if you judge the quality of the sand, the cleanliness of the water and the amount of visitors. But definitely the coolest Beach in Florida and the best urban beach in America. It is the ideal place to meet people and to be seen, flirt, play volleyball and surf. The pastel coloured Baywatch Towers are a special attraction, so bring your camera.

St Joseph Peninsula State Park

The beach of the St. Joseph peninsula lies in the north-east of the gulf across the bay from Port St. Joe and is well worth a visit! It is a spacious and untroubled idyll. The small peninsula is protected by dunes and fine, wide, white strip of sand stretches for more than nine miles long. St Joseph Peninsula Beach was crowned in 2002 as the best beach in America, because it is ideal for long walks.

Fort de Soto North Beach

This beautiful beach is located on an island group outside the city of St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is also known as “The Sunshine City”, because it holds the world record for the most consecutive days of sunshine. This beach is very poplar, because it has such crystal clear water, the water is also very shallow and ideal for families with small children. The pure white sand is also very fine.

Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach has a beautiful and untouched beach on the otherwise strongly developed golf coast. The small, historic village on the Florida Panhandle lies halfway between Destin and Panama City. The beach is about 2 miles long and is located in a State Park with the same name. This stunning beach is unusually wide with almost white sand and clear blue green water. The next holiday locations can be seen far in the distance to left and right of the beach. Anyone who wants to stay can camp or rent a simple hut. The way to the beach leads through a charming barren landscape with brackish water lakes, salt marshes and low dunes.

Casperson Beach, Venice

If you are looking for a natural beach with clean sand, lots of shells and minimal visitors, than this beach is the right place for you. You can cross the dunes to the beach on long, high-altitude wooden bridges. The long and lonely beach is a suitable place for picnics. One thing makes this particularly special: Nowhere else can you so easily find fossil shark teeth in the sand. The ocean current in this region washes the teeth onto the beach and they can easily be picked up.

Bowman’s beach, Sanibel

This beach is one of the best places in the world to collect seashells! It is definitely worth a visit and has a fine white sand and flat, glass clear, blue shimmering water with mild waves. A footbridge crossing leads to the beach, which is located behind vast sand dunes and marshes. You can find toilets and changing rooms at the car park.

Bahia Honda Beach

The beach at the Bahia Honda State Park stretches for many miles along the Atlantic Ocean; the water is shimmering in a light blue, turquoise or is even sometimes brownish from the sea grass meadows. The seaweed lands often on the white sandy beach. The fish hunting pelicans are a great attraction at this beautiful location. The water is also quite shallow only reaches to chest height, even if you go quite far in. From the second beach, the Calusa Beach, you can look at the old Bahia Honda Bridge; this steel construction is a relic of the Flagler Railway, which is partially accessible.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscane

This beach offers fantastic views over the shimmering sea. The meadows of the park at the top of the Key Biscane are visited by countless butterflies, as well as 200 different kinds of birds. The area has been replanted with its original vegetation in 1992 and has become a paradise for indigenous insets and birds. The Dunes can be crossed on fairly narrow wooden walkways. There even is a special pier where fishing is allowed. Daily at 10am and 1pm to the old lighthouse can be visited and it is really worth it!

Caladesi Island

The crossing from Dunedin to paradise Cala Desi Island takes only 20 minutes. The islet in the north of Tampa lies in a state park. There is a small boat harbor, a snack bar, sanitary facilities, picnic shelters and nothing else. In particular there are no cars and only a few tourists, because nobody is allowed to stay longer than four hours. A long wooden walkways leads form the harbour through the dunes to the west side of the island where the guest can find an almost three miles long beach.

Of course there are many more beautiful beaches in Florida, and every year one beach is crowned as the best beach of Florida. So start planning your Florida beach holiday today and apply for your ESTA visa.

Connecting through Los Angeles International Airport

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Los Angeles International Airport or LAX is one of the nation’s busiest airports and the main gateway to Asia and the Pacific region from the United States. There are more flights to Asia, Australia, Hawaii and the Pacific islands from LAX than from any other airport in the country. The strong growth in Asia in the past several years has meant that LAX has also grown strongly in passenger numbers. Several Asian and Pacific countries are members of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Brunei, Australia and New Zealand. Citizens of these countries are eligible for the ESTA program and should request an ESTA authorization online prior to boarding their flight to LAX.

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LAX is a large airport and can be confusing.  Many passengers arriving from Asia, Hawaii and Australia use LAX as a transit airport and connect to flights to cities all over the United States.  In order to simplify the process for you we have created a brief guide to help you navigate this global hub.

Terminals

LAX is divided into nine terminals. Each terminal servicing different airlines and domestic and international flights.

Terminal 1 – This terminal serves as the hub for low-cost Southwest Airlines.

Terminal 2 – This terminal serves the most international airlines besides Tom Bradley International Terminal. Some of the airlines using this terminal include Aeromexico, Air Canada, Avianca, Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Volaris and WestJet.

Terminal 3 – This terminal serves a number of domestic carriers including Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

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Terminal 4 – This terminal serves American Airlines.
All AA domestic and international flights are based out of Terminal 4.

Terminal 5 – This terminal serves Delta Airlines.
All Delta domestic and international flights are based out of Terminal 5.

Terminal 6 – This terminal serves Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Great Lakes Aviation.

Terminal 7 – This terminal serves United Airlines.  All United Airlines domestic and international flights are based out of Terminal 7.

Terminal 8 – This terminal serves United Airlines Express.

Tom Bradley International Terminal – Most international airlines fly out of TBIT, these include Aeroflot, Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air China, Air France, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, Alitalia, All Nippon Airlines, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, El Al, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Fiji Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines, KLM, Korean Air, LAN Airlines, Lan Peru, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Philippines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Virgin Australia.

Transportation between Terminals

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There are frequent shuttles between all terminals but travelers will have to go through security again when entering the terminal.  Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are connected via underground tunnel.

LAX is a major gateway to the United States and is considered by many travelers an airport that is more user friendly than other major airports in the country.  Remember that If you are connecting through LAX you will still need to pass through passport control.  If you are from a VWP country you need to apply for an ESTA authorization prior to boarding your flight.