What is ESTA to the USA ?
It stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It’s an online application system which was developed by the US government so that the travelers would be pre-screened before they are allowed to enter into the US.
This program was initiated to curb the security challenges, therefore in case you are traveling to through the waiver visa program, you have to apply for this travel authorization for your embark your trip to the US.
ESTA application is purely online and it’s operated by the United States Department of Homeland security.
ESTA to the USA Requirements
a) You must have an e-Passport which has a chip( Normally the chip will have your biometric data. From 1st April 2016, all foreign citizens who are traveling to the US through the ESTA program are required to have an e-Passport which has an electronic chip.
b) Your passport must be valid at the time your applying for your ESTA and when you are traveling to the US.
c) You must know that ESTA is not a visa but a pre-authorization which you can use to board the US airline.
d) In case your ESTA application is declined, you will have to apply for B-2 Tourist visa or B-1 visitor visa.
e) The US embassy recommends that you apply for ESTA early like 72 hours before you start your journey. The ESTA 90 day visit will not start until you arrive in the US.
f) It’s only the citizens who are from the visa waiver countries and wish to enter the US are allowed to apply.
g) You must be visiting the US for reason such as recreation, social events, business, Tourism and professional events scientific conference. You are only to stay in the US for less than 3 months.
Countries which are supported by ESTA visa
Liechtenstein, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Australia, Chile, Finland, France, Andorra, Brunei, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Latvia, Iceland, Sweden, Slovakia, Norway, Malta, Monaco, Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Taiwan, South Korea, San Marino, Netherlands, Lithuania, Slovenia and Switzerland.
ESTA to US Application Process
1.) Start your application
First of all, you have to access the US online visa issuing agency. Take a look at the kind of ESTA visa that you need. Fill in your details for the online visa application form which you will be provided. Make sure that you attach all the documents that you will be requested
2.) Verify your information
Make sure that check one by one all the details that you have filled or attached so that you are sure you are submitting the correct details.
3.) Payment for the service
Your visa cannot go through unless you make the online payment for the visa application services.
4.) Receive your visa
After you have submitted your application online, you will first a notification email which will inform you that you have applied for your US visa. You will then wait some time after which once your visa has been approved it will be sent to your email. Normally the online visa processing takes about one business day and a maximum of 2 days, unless if you have not met all the requirements then it might take longer. This visa is valid for one year from the date that it’s approved.
In case you made an error during your application for an ESTA, you will be required to send an email to the United States Customs and Border protection so that you can have them correct these errors.
Although all the citizens who are visa waiver program are required to apply for an ESTA, there is a circumstance which makes them be denied from applying this travel authorization.
Some of such cases are:
- In case you have dual nationality as a country citizen of VWP and Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Iran.
- In case you have lived in countries such as Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq and Iran after March 1, 2011.
- You previously overstayed in the US using the visa waiver.
- You were previously deported from the United States.
- You have some infectious diseases.
- Have a criminal record.
- You have been arrested.