ESTA is a program run by the United states to the citizens of those countries that come under the Visa Waiver Program. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was established by the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. It is an automated system to determine the eligibility of a visitor to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Even after getting an ESTA, the traveler is not guaranteed of an entry, the admissibility of visitor to enter the United States is solely determined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). One can submit ESTA applications anytime prior to travel however it is always recommended to apply it as soon as you prepare for a trip. Since 2010 a nominal fee of $14 is required to obtain ESTA.
It is important to get the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, no less than 72 hrs before your departure time; and applications for this should be filled in over the internet. In most cases the authorization is immediate when you apply online, however in rare cases it might take time. It is always better to use the website of one of the reputed esta visa service providers, to make the whole process hassle free. These reputed esta visa service providers handle online applications 24/7, providing excellent customer service via email. They also check your applications for errors or omissions prior to submission. Also they help the travelers who don’t know English well; their multilingual staff will assist in the application process. If your travel is authorized then you need not apply for ESTA again, as this authorization will be active for years, provided you meet certain criteria.
ESTA Application Factors:
Other things that you need to know before applying for ESTA are as follows:
- Only a select list of countries fall under Visa Waiver Program. So check out if your country is one of the countries that is eligible for ESTA.
- You will not be eligible to apply for ESTA if you plan to stay in the US for more than 3 months. ESTA is applicable for only stays of under 90 days. You will also need to fill up if you are planning a leisure or business trip.
- You should also hold a machine readable passport. Machine readable passports have 2 lines and chevrons at the bottom (at the bottom of the personal information page). Only if you have a machine readable passport you can successfully complete an ESTA application.
- Recent policy change requires you to have a passport with digital ID photograph or an electronic chip. This is mandatory if your last passport renewal is prior to October 2005.
- Have information like your flight details and flight number handy, and also the name of the airport and city from which you are going to board, while you process your application.
- If you are planning to travel to the United States for the first time then you have to respond to several security questions. There is a remote chance of you being denied an ESTA, so it is better to just reserve your ticket instead of paying for it in total.
- Once you successfully complete your application you will be allotted an application number; keep that application number safe for future references.