Since 2008 the USA have had in place a requirement for tourists visiting the country, that they must have what is called an ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, granted prior to their visit. The ESTA is part of the Visa Waiver Program which many nations signed up to, and it is an absolute essential for you if you plan to visit the Unite States. Here we are going to take a look at some of the most asked questions about the ESTA, the process of application, as well as some other queries which many people have.
Why An ESTA?
The ESTA was put in place for a number of reasons, chief among them is so that the United States government can better vet those people who are visiting their country, before they actually arrive. Another benefit of the ESTA is that it greatly speeds up the process of customs at the airport, ensuring that visitors get through quicker, and that customs officials have less issues to deal with.
Do I Need One?
There is a total of 38 nations that have signed up to the Visa Waiver program, with many of the countries being the most popular in terms of nationalities that visit the US. IF you are heading to the States and you are not sure whether or not you will need a USA ESTA, head online to find out if your home country signed up, if they did, you will need one.
How To Get An ESTA?
The process of applying for your ESTA is very simple and can be done online, you simply need to fill out some personal information, alongside some supporting travel information. The short questionnaire will require your passport details, as well as some information about where you will be traveling to in the USA, for how long, and what you intend to do there.
How Long Will I Wait For My Application to be Processed?
In most cases you will receive a near-instant response about your application being granted, although it will always suggest that you will find out within 48 hours. If you aren’t accepted straight away, don’t panic, there are many reasons why the confirmation of you application success could take some time.
When Do I Need It?
You will need to have an approved ESTA when you land on US soil, it is therefore best that you complete your application at least a month prior to your trip, in case you run into any difficulties.
How Much Does It Cost?
You will need to pay a fee of $14 upon applying for your ESTA, a fee which is non returnable, regardless of whether or not your application is accepted.
Is An ESTA For Life?
Your ESTA will last for a 2 year period, after which you will need to re-apply, during these two years you can enter the USA as many times as you like.
Don’t get caught out, make sure that you have applied for your ESTA well before you head off to the USA.