When planning for a trip to USA, there’s something new you should add to your checklist of what you should not forget before leaving your country. Apart from the dollars, the passport, and the “three Ts, that is, ticket, travel insurance, toothbrush, visitors from some countries still have to fill for ESTA form before they make their trip. For more, visit en.usa-esta.us.
What is ESTA?
The Electronic Systems for Travel Authorization-ESTA- is a web-based system utilized to establish the right of visitors to travel to the US. What it is not is an authorization to enter US. The final authority here rests with the Border Protection Officers at entry points and, of course, the good, old, Customs.
Is ESTA a Must?
Yes, it is. ESTA should be sought by all citizens of those countries which have signed up the VWP (Visa Waiver Program).
The program lets citizens of the participating countries to visit United States up to 90 days, without a visa. When you are from a participating country, you must have your ESTA application completed and approved prior to traveling to the US.
Why Was It Introduced In the First Place?
The United States Homeland Security-in the wake of the 9/11 terrorists attack-implemented to help in stopping undesirable people from VWP countries from setting their foot in America.
Presently, United States welcomes about 50 million individuals each year from these countries. Note: ESTA is not meant to limit tourism or commerce. It’s just to filter out those undesirables whose presence in the country is a potential threat to its security. So if you are not a security threat to the country, just go ahead and apply.
But How DO I Apply?
The only way you are going to apply is online. Visit ESTA website, and complete your application. So long as you possess a valid passport details, it should not take you more than some few hours to complete.
What Response Can I get?
You application is going to generate 3 responses:
Authorization Approved: You’re cleared to travel to US
Travel Not Authorized: You’re not cleared to travel to the United States, and should apply for paper travel visa at US Embassy or Consulate.
Authorization Pending: The application needs more time prior to a decision being made.
ESTA is Valid for How Long?
It is valid up to 2 years-less when your passport expires within 2 years-and permits for multiple entries of 90 days each. When you get a new passport during this two-year period, you should reapply for ESTA approval.
So there you are. Get your ESTA visa and you can come to enjoy all that US have to offer!