Tag Archives: ESTA Visa

Why You Need ESTA Visa and How To Apply

ESTA Visa

Apart from your passport, money and personal belongings, visitors to the US need to apply for ESTA visa before traveling.

What’s ESTA?

ESTA is an online based electronic system that is used to determine whether a person is eligible for traveling to the United States. However, the final decision to authorize entry is made by the Customs and Border Protection officers.

ESTA is mandatory and should be sought by all travelers from countries that are under the Visa Waiver Program.

This program allows people from the countries that are members to visit the United States of America without a visa for up to ninety days.

Why Was ESTA Introduced?

Set in the wake of 9/11 attacks, the United States Department of Homeland Security implemented ESTA with the aim to help prevent undesirable citizens of countries under VWP from entering the US.

This system is not intended to hamper tourism or commerce, but to filter out those individuals considered to be a security threat to the United States.

ESTA Application

ESTA can only be applied online. You should visit the official site and complete the application form. As long as you have your passport details close, it should not take more than 10 minutes.

The application process will give one of these responses:

Authorization Approved- This means you’re cleared to travel to the US.

Travel Not Authorized- You aren’t cleared to travel and you should visit the US Embassy or Consulate to apply for a paper travel visa.

Authorization Pending- The application needs more time before a decision can be made.

How Long Does the Processing Take?

Once you have submitted the ESTA form, it is queried against the US Law database. However, this just takes a few seconds and most of the applications are determined under a minute. Even so, it is advisable to apply at least 72 hours before the day of departure. In fact, it’s better to apply as soon as you decide to travel just in case authorization is denied. That’s because it can take up to 2 months to get an appointment at the US Embassy.

How Long is It Valid?

Esta is valid for up to 2 years unless your passport expires before this period is over. It also allows for multiple entries to the US of up to 90 days each. If you get a new passport during this period, you need to reapply for ESTA.

How To Apply For An ESTA Visa

If you are thinking about traveling to the United States, you will need to apply for an ESTA visa. The ESTA visa is required by any citizen of a visa waiver company. If you are one of these citizens, you need to know how to apply for the visa.

The Application Process

To apply for an ESTA, you will need to have access to a computer as the application can only be done online. The application will only take around 10 minutes to complete, but you need to ensure that everything is done correctly. If English is not your native language, you will be able to complete the view the application in 22 different languages, but the answers need to be provided in English only.

It is important that you complete the application before you book any parts of your holiday so you do not lose money if your application is rejected. To fill in the application, you will need to have your passport details such as the number, the issue and the expiry date. You also need to provide contact details, but the information about where you will be staying in the US can be added or amended after the application.

The ESTA application will need to be completed on an individual basis. This means that group applications will not be accepted, but you may be able to apply on behalf of other people. To do this, you will need to have all of their information as well.

Once you submit your application, you will need to pay an application fee. This fee can be paid by credit or debit card and should never be more than $14. It is important to note that this fee is non-refundable and you will be charged even if your application is rejected.

After submitting your application, you will generally receive a confirmation via email. The visa does take around 72 hours to be processed and you will not be able to chase up the status. The visa will be valid for 2 years from the date of issue or until the passport your visa is related to expires.

If your ESTA visa is rejected, you will still be able to apply for a non-immigrant visa at the US embassy. This is the visa that citizens from countries that do not have a visa waiver agreement with the US will need to have to travel.