To enhance travel security to the USA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA Visa USA was introduced in 2009. With this new system in place, citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) were now required to obtain an approved travel authorization before their travel to the United States of America.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization, is commonly referred to as simply ESTA, is an automated system that the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Customs and Border Protection use to determine the eligibility of nationals of VWP countries to visit the US. An ESTA VISA to the USA ensures that nationals of VWP countries do not pose any law enforcement or security threat to the US.
If you have an ESTA VISA to the USA, it means that you have been approved for boarding a carrier that is headed to the US. It is recommended that you apply for an ESTA at the same time you book your travel. You should have your ESTA approved in no less than 72 hours before you board.
Applying for ESTA VISA to the USA
To apply for an ESTA VISA to the USA, all you have to do is to visit the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Customs and Border Protection
THE OFFICIAL ESTA APPLICATION
After you enter all the relevant information and submitted your application form, the system will analyze and process your application and then give you an automated response, telling you if you have been approved or not. Then, before you board for your travel, a carrier will electronically verify that your ESTA VISA to the USA has been approved, and you are eligible to travel to the United States visa-free.
If you already have a valid visa to US, you are not required to apply for an ESTA. It is also essential to note that just having a valid visa does not guarantee entry to the US, and approved ESTA doesn’t guarantee entry to the US.
How long is a ESTA visa valid for?
An approved ESTA VISA to the USA has a validity of two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. Within these two years, you can take multiple trips to the US without having to apply for travel authorization again.
However, each visit can last up to three months, and it is important that there is a considerable amount of time between each visit. There is no set period for how many days should fall between each of your visits.
If your travel authorization has been approved, but your passport is expiring in less than two years, your ESTA VISA to the USA will be valid till your passport’s expiration date.
Who should apply for ESTA VISA to the USA?
- You are a citizen or eligible for the Visa Waiver Program country. You can find the list of countries here.
- You don’t currently possess a visitor’s visa.
- You plan to visit the US for no more than 90 days.
- You plan to travel to the US for business or pleasure.
- You want to apply for a new travel authorization for an individual or for a group of people.
Which documents/information do I need to submit?
- Valid passport(s) from a Visa Waiver Program country.
- A valid email address.
- Your home address and phone number.
- Contact details of your emergency person.
How much is the fee, and how should I make payments?
When applying directly on the US Government website, the application fee is only $14.00 USD. There are third-party agencies and websites available as well but they are much more expensive and not really necessary to use as applying is pretty simple and straight forward.
You can pay using MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover
(JCB or Diners Club only), and PayPal.
We at US Green Card Office does not support the ESTA application submission but you are always welcome to contact us about any immigration matter via our Support Ticket System.
Remember should you wish to live and work permanently in the United States an ESTA VISA is not the right choice and you should instead apply for a US Green Card via the Diversity Visa Program sponsored by the US Government.