Are you planning a trip to the United States and are a citizen of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program? Well, you’re in luck! You may be able to travel to popular destinations like New York, Los Angeles, and Miami without a visa through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which allows you to stay in the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a traditional visa.
This ESTA system is an online tool that allows eligible travelers to request authorization to travel to the United States under this VWP. In this article, we’ll explain the process for applying for an ESTA and provide tips to help you navigate the application process.
Step 1: Determine if you are eligible
Before you begin the ESTA Visa application process, it’s important to determine if you are eligible to apply. In order to be eligible for an ESTA Visa, you must be a citizen of a participating country and meet the following requirements:
- You are traveling to the United States for tourism or business purposes only (not for work, study, or any other purpose)
- You have a valid passport from a participating country
- You have a round-trip ticket or an onward ticket to a third country
- You do not have a criminal record or have been denied a U.S. visa in the past
If you meet these requirements, you can proceed to the next step. Otherwise, you’ll have to request obtain a traditional USA visa.
Step 2: Gather the necessary documents
Before you begin the ESTA Visa application process, you will need to gather the following documents:
- A valid passport from a participating country
- Payment for the ESTA Visa application fee (currently $14)
- Contact information for your destination in the United States (if applicable)
- A valid email address where you can receive updates about your ESTA application
Step 3: Complete the online application
Once you have gathered the necessary documents, you can begin the ESTA application process by visiting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. You’ll need to complete the online application form on the website, which will ask for information about your personal background, travel plans, and employment. You’ll also need to provide your passport information and pay the application fee.
It’s important to carefully review the information you provide on the application form, as any errors or discrepancies could potentially delay or jeopardize your ESTA application.
Step 4: Wait for a decision
After you have submitted your ESTA application, it can take up to 72 hours for a decision to be made. You will receive an email notification with the decision on your ESTA application and any additional instructions if your application is approved.
If your ESTA Visa application is approved, you can travel to the United States for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. It’s important to note that an ESTA does not guarantee entry into the United States, and you may still be denied entry by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at the border.
If your ESTA application is denied, you will need to apply for a traditional visa in order to travel to the United States.
Step 5: Renew or update your ESTA
If your ESTA is approved, it will be valid for up to two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. If you need to travel to the United States again during this time, you can use your existing ESTA as long as your passport is still valid and the information on your ESTA application is still accurate.
Step 6: Travel to the United States
If your ESTA Visa application is approved, you will need to present your ESTA authorization number and your passport when you travel to the United States. A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry will review your documents and determine your admissibility to the country.