Travelling to different countries may both be rewarding and daunting. For sure, you will be kept in awe with the culture and cuisine of the country that you will visit. But the travel preparations can also be tiring. If you are planning to visit the United States anytime soon, then you might need to ensure that you process the necessary documents that will help you seamlessly enter the country.
What is ESTA?
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This is an automated system that verifies the eligibility of foreign nationals to enter the U.S. territory under the Visa Waiver Program, or VWP. To be eligible for a ESTA, you must be a citizen of one of the 38 countries participating in the VWP. In other words, ESTA is only applicable to citizens of VWP countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Greece among others. Apart from this, you must be able to present a round trip ticket as your proof of departure from the United States, and that your primary reason for travel is not for residency, employment, or education.
ESTA was developed with the goal of strengthening the security measures of the United States, as well as ensuring the safety of their visitors.
ESTA Application Process
In applying for an ESTA, all you need to do is to complete an online form. The ESTA visa application is normally completed in a matter of seconds. All the applications are rigorously reviewed by qualified agents for any errors or omissions. More often than not, an ESTA document is available within minutes without any delays. However, there are instances wherein it may take up to 24 hours before your document becomes available. Nevertheless, even if it only takes a matter of seconds before you are able to get a copy of your ESTA document, it is recommended to file an application at least 72 hours before your intended departure. This is because you will not be able to allow entry with a pending ESTA application.
There are also instances wherein your application may be denied. The reasons that may lead up to the denial of your application may include using a passport number that was already reported lost or stolen, as well as erroneously answering the questions on the online form. Other factors that may affect the approval of your ESTA application is if you have stayed longer than the allowed period during your previous visit, or if you have been previously denied entry to the United States.
Nonetheless, if you are able to successfully acquire an approved ESTA, your document will be valid for two years within the date of its issue. However, if your passport expires prior to the expiration date of your ESTA, you will need to apply for a new ESTA as soon as you renew your passport.
Travel preparations may prove to be tiring. Aside from taking much of your time, the planning process may also be tedious. Nevertheless, travel preparations are necessary, especially because organizing the documents you need to be able to enter a different country such as the United States, as a tourist, is necessary.