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The FAQ section of the ESTA website states:

If you have an approved ESTA when entering the U.S. at a land border crossing, you will NOT be required to complete the paper I-94W form and your entry process is expedited.

However, I have read in forums, and heard from CBP officers at various land border crossings (whom I've called) that in practice, at many border crossings they still require ESTA holders to fill out the I-94W form, except if first having entered by air or sea, then making a short trip to Canada or Mexico and then re-entering the US by land within the 90-day admission period.

What is the current situation? Anyone with experience?

  • Sorry, but I do not have enough reputation to comment. I would like to add that it is very important that at the Niagara Falls, you get a pre-filled I-94W. Dear Enrico Brugnatelli, do you maybe remember if you had to do biometrics too when you entered the US there? – SZSZ May 6 '18 at 16:44
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This is my experience in Niagara Falls last summer. I'm an Italian citizen and I had a valid Esta.

I had never been to the USA before that three-hour trip.

When I was at the border checkpoint, the employee printed a pre-filled I-94 (white) Form and stapled it in my passport, near the entry stamp.

Pay attention if you come back through a land crossing, because the US doesn't have border control when exiting. I came back to Italy with my I-94 still stapled in the passport and I need to do an annoying procedure to prove that I left the USA!

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    You should have handed it in to the Canadian officer, just so you know. Also, did they stamp the passport? I thought the entry stamp was placed on the I-94 – Crazydre Oct 5 '16 at 0:51
  • Yes, they put a stamp in both passport and I-94 Form. – Enrico Brugnatelli Oct 5 '16 at 8:22

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