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ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Old Jan 9th 2015, 12:23 pm
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Default ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Before I get accused of causing panic this only affects travellers who exited from Orlando Sanford Airport during a specific time period which I believe was August 2012.

This has just been reported on a TV program on the BBC (UK) called rip-off Britain (even thought it's not really anything to do with companies in the UK)

What appears to have happened is that if you exited the USA from the above airport within a specific time period your exit date will have been recorded as November rather than August due to a programming error on the processing system at Sanford Airport - it stored the date it wrong format which may mean your last visit may be recorded as an overstay. In some cases this has resulted in the following ESTA application for affected travellers being rejected.

So if your last point of exit from the USA was Sanford you may want to think carefully about booking a trip without renewing your ESTA first.

Of course no-one reading this forum would consider booking a trip to anywhere without their travel documents being in place beforehand.

I must stress this only affects a relatively small number of travellers.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 5:23 am
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Not saying that there isn't some truth behind this, but I thought that this data was the responsibility of the airline. Not the airport.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 7:26 am
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Originally Posted by JAJ View Post
Not saying that there isn't some truth behind this, but I thought that this data was the responsibility of the airline. Not the airport.
Genuine thanks JAJ for taking the time to read and comment.

I beg to differ with what you have said BUT am more than happy to be proven wrong.

My understanding regarding what happened is that the software which processes exit dates is operated by Sanford Airport but provided by a thirda party. Allegedly a change was made to the software which - for a period of time - incorrectly stored the exit dates so the month and day number was reversed. This caused some international travellers to be recorded as overstay

I accept totally that the airline is responsible for entering exit data but as I said above this was/is entered in the correct format but mishandled by the 3rd party software which - to be fair - was corrected very quickly

Sadly poor Jimmy traveller gets caught up in the middle of this and the first done of them will have known about is when they tried to renew their ESTA. I'm not sure what would have happened if someone had returned to the USA whilst their previous ESTA was valid.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 7:35 am
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Originally Posted by BerkshireBugsy View Post
I beg to differ with what you have said BUT am more than happy to be proven wrong.

My understanding regarding what happened is that the software which processes exit dates is operated by Sanford Airport but provided by a thirda party. Allegedly a change was made to the software which - for a period of time - incorrectly stored the exit dates so the month and day number was reversed. This caused some international travellers to be recorded as overstay

I accept totally that the airline is responsible for entering exit data but as I said above this was/is entered in the correct format but mishandled by the 3rd party software which - to be fair - was corrected very quickly
I fail to see how any airport - anywhere in the United States - is involved with providing passenger travel data to United States Customs & Border Protection. Airlines do this, not airports.

Remember that many, if not most, travelers, take a domestic flight first and then depart the United States from a hub airport.

Also, anyone reading this needs to understand that Sanford Airport (SFB) is not the same as Orlando International Airport (MCO).

So, perhaps there is some grain of truth somewhere in this (Perhaps, it is specific to a particular airline), but I don't think it's worth the attention received.

Last edited by JAJ; Jan 11th 2015 at 7:37 am.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 7:50 am
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

I've posted a link below which contains a lot of text but the key paragraph s the one that begins "weeks later"...

Although we may differ about the cause of this problem there does seem to be an overstay issue which affects a small number of travellers.

We could argue abou who is responsible for this issue for ever but I seem to recall an article I found somewhere which indicated the software vendor and admitted their programming error but we're not liable for the cancellation of travellers holidays due to ESTA denial.

My first awareness of this issue was on a bbc (UK) program called rip of Britain ...although I'm not sure how this be construed as such


Big ESTA Problem - theDIBB
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 6:55 pm
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

That link makes an interesting read but I'm not sure it is accurate. JAJ is correct it is the ailrine that passes the information to CBP.

A lot of airports have common software at checkin, and the checkin system is airport controlled. This is to enable any airline to use any checkin desk at the airport. Airline staff login and then specify the airline they work for and the checkin system links to the airline system. But it isn't the checkin details which are sent to CBP, it is the flight manifest and this is compiled by the airline at the boarding gate.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Much ado...
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Originally Posted by Hotscot View Post
Much ado...
unless you are one of the people who had an ESTA refused or lost their holiday then it is hardly nothing.

Last edited by lansbury; Jan 11th 2015 at 7:43 pm.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 7:51 pm
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
unless you are one of the people who had an ESTA refused or lost their holiday then it is hardly nothing.
True...but I don't think there's been widespread disruption.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Originally Posted by Hotscot View Post
True...but I don't think there's been widespread disruption.
There hasn't been widespread disruption - which was a point I made when I started this thread.

However as someone has rightly said if you are one of the few people/families affected by this and have lost a considerable amount of money and/or holiday then it is a big deal.

At the end of the day it will only affect a relatively small number of international travellers.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 8:45 pm
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Originally Posted by Hotscot View Post
True...but I don't think there's been widespread disruption.
so what if it hasn't been widespread. If you had nothing useful to add why bother making your "much ado" comment. It clearly was a big deal for some, and useful for others to know about even if the explanation of why it happened may not be 100% accurate.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 8:54 pm
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
so what if it hasn't been widespread. If you had nothing useful to add why bother making your "much ado" comment. It clearly was a big deal for some, and useful for others to know about even if the explanation of why it happened may not be 100% accurate.

In the context of the millions who use ESTA problem-free each year, it's not that significant.

The system isn't perfect but probably is better than what existed before, which relied on airlines to physically return the I-94(W) forms to the Department of Homeland Security. One wonders what % of those forms never made it to the DHS processing center.

In general, leaving the ESTA application to the last minute is not a good idea. And a valid ESTA should always be in place before booking travel.
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Old Jan 12th 2015, 5:37 am
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Originally Posted by JAJ View Post
In the context of the millions who use ESTA problem-free each year, it's not that significant.

The system isn't perfect but probably is better than what existed before, which relied on airlines to physically return the I-94(W) forms to the Department of Homeland Security. One wonders what % of those forms never made it to the DHS processing center.

In general, leaving the ESTA application to the last minute is not a good idea. And a valid ESTA should always be in place before booking travel.
I totally agree with your last paragraph about leaving ESTA applications until the last minute. However my understanding is an ESTA is valid for a period of two years and some travellers successfully applied for their ESTA in time for their August visit. The issue was that some travellers needed to make a subsequent visit (for example in the following August) and no reason to believe their existing ESTA would not be valid.most travellers found out about this issue in advance of their travel but the issue was extremely was extremely difficult to resolve because no one would accept responsibility,
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Old Jan 12th 2015, 10:41 am
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

I've just found an interesting document online at the link below.

Written testimony of CBP and ICE for a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing titled “Fulfilling A Key 9/11 Commission Recommendation: Implementing Biometric Exit” | Homeland Security

This is quite a detailed document but I have copied a section which I believe is relevant below. The highlighting is mine but IMHO it shows that the exit data is collected from data supplied from the airline which using an API.

How DHS Collects Departure Information

Similar to the way DHS gathers passenger manifests prior to entry through the air and sea environments, DHS also collects through APIS passenger manifests submitted by commercial air and sea carriers departing the United States. Since 2008, collection of this information has been mandatory and compliance is near 100 percent resulting in a fully functioning exit system in the air and sea environments using biographic data. Carriers are required to report biographic and travel document information to DHS for those individuals who are physically on the airplane or sea vessel at the time of departure from the United States and not simply on those who have made a reservation or scheduled to be on board. DHS monitors APIS transmissions to ensure compliance and issues fines for noncompliance on a monthly basis. CBP transfers this data (excluding data for U.S. Citizens) to ADIS, which matches arrivals and departures to and from the United States5.
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Old Jun 7th 2015, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: ESTA Issues following exit from Sanford airport

Unfortunately the August 2012 software input error has reared it's head again as another family lose their holiday due to denied ESTA application that didn't afford them the time to resolve - I'm personally aware of two families who lost their holidays, another who, luckily, resolved via a phone call to the US and one who had sufficient time to make successful B2 visa application. Whether one agree's, doesn't believe it significant, wants to argue the toss about irresponsibily leaving ESTA application too late, whatever, if it makes those who travelled thro Sanford during August 2012 significantly aware it's not a bad thing.

Apparently, whilst arrival/departure UK datal format information had been supplied, the suggestion is the software error at Sanford input UK dates in US numerical default resulting in some ESTA holders flagged as overstayers - apparently travellers affected are between the software update of circa 8/8/2012 to when the error came to light when Sanford realised there is no 13th month and corrected the error. Unfortunately that may be too little, too late for those being refused ESTA through no fault of their own.
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