The information collected by ESTA can be used by other DHS components on the basis of a “need to know”.
Under existing agreements between the DHS and the Department of State (DOS), information provided during an ESTA application can be shared with DOS consular officers to assist in determining whether a visa should be issued to An applicant after an application for a travel authorization has been refused.
Information may be shared with appropriate governmental, federal, state, local, tribal and foreign agencies or multilateral governmental organizations responsible for investigating or prosecuting violations of the law or for the application of a law, A rule, regulation, decree or license, or where DHS believes that the information may assist in the enforcement of civil or criminal law. In addition, information may be shared where the DHS reasonably believes that such use can assist in the fight against terrorism or in the collection of information related to national or international security or even transnational crime.
Although carriers will not receive the ESTA request information that passengers provide to the DHS, they will receive confirmation of a passenger’s ESTA status via the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) indicating whether an ESTA is required and whether an authorization Was granted.
All sharing will be compatible with the NOTIS system, which was published in the Federal Register on June 10, 2008 and is available on the DHS Privacy Act website.
Example 1: Josh
A few years ago a terrible crime took place in France. During a robbery, a man brutally killed two women and one child. The police found fingerprints at the scene of the crime. They cross-referenced all the databases at their disposal, but found no correspondence. The French police decided to ask US immigration if she could compare them with the fingerprints of their records. It appeared that the fugitive had returned to the United States with an ESTA. As we know, American immigration collects a portrait of identity and the fingerprints of visitors entering the country.
The US and French governments worked together and were able to identify and catch the criminal.
This is an excellent example of how information obtained through US immigration is shared between the different departments in the country, or between states at the international level.