The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) is an online system that checks the eligibility of any visitors travelling to the United States that qualify under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
The Department of Homeland Security brought in the ESTA Visa in 2009 to screen travellers before they are even allowed to get on board a ship or a plane travelling to the US.
When you fill in your ESTA registration you will have to provide personal information, such as the obvious name, address and date of birth, but you will also have to provide answers to VWP questions, such as certain medical conditions, any criminal record and your previous travel.
What is the US Visa Waiver Program?
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program from the US government that was introduced in 1986 to ease the red tape involved in visiting the US for tourists and any short business trips. It also has the advantage of letting the Department of State in the US concentrate on higher risk countries and passengers, which is reassuring for travellers and US citizens alike, as there are more resources focused on detecting potential terrorists and other criminals rather than being wasted on ordinary travellers.
The VWP is a helpful tool as it removes the need to apply for an official US visa for anyone in the 38 countries covered, though of course, anyone who doesn’t meet the security standards will need to apply for the US visa.
If you are from one of the 38 countries that are part of the VWP, you can stay in the US with an ESTA visa travel authorisation for up to 90 days without needing to get a visa, and the system offers even wider travel as it also covers you for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as they are US territories.
Your ESTA visa will let you travel to the US multiple times over a two year period, before you need to apply again, though if your passport expires during that time, you will also need to apply for a new VWP to cover your travel.
Who qualifies under the US ESTA VWP?
If you are from any of these countries below and have a current passport, you will be able to travel to the United States with an ESTA visa:
|Denmark||Japan||Republic of Malta||United Kingdom|
Visitors from any other county will still need to apply for a B1 or B2 Visitor Visa before travelling.
1. Even if you are from one of the listed 38 countries, you will still need to apply for an official American visa if you have dual nationality with Sudan, Iraq, Iran or Syria.
2. If you have visited Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iran or Iraq from 1st March 2011, you will still need to apply for an official US visa, though there are some exceptions to this if you were travelling for military or diplomatic reasons for a VWP country.
How to apply for the US ESTA Visa
Although most applications take only minutes to approve, it is recommended that you do apply for your ESTA USA at least a few days (minimum 72 hours) before you travel – just in case there is a problem with your application and you then find out that you need to apply for the full USA visa. Better to take the time to get things ready early than discover that you’ve bought your tickets but now don’t have the time you need to apply for your official US visa.
One final note: a current ESTA visa isn’t a guarantee of entry to the USA when you arrive as the ultimate decision will be made by US customs.
Once you are ready to apply, you can simply go online, fill in the form, submit your fee and wait for approval, but many people make mistakes on their form and find that it can cause them problems later on arrival – after they’ve paid out a whole lot of money for flights and hotels!
Why use our US ESTA Visa Application Service?
When you travel, you want to concentrate on packing and anticipating all the fun you’re going to have on your trip, or on how well your business is going to go. You don’t want to be worrying about whether you’ve filled in the USA ESTA form correctly, and if you’re going to have a problem when you arrive at US customs.
Let us take a load off and give your application the best possible chance of getting through, hitch free.
We’ll thoroughly check your application while, of course, carefully protecting your personal data, and you’ll be able to log in and change any details you need to on our system before each trip you make to the US. You’ll be able to update your email address, your airline and flight number, your address while abroad and your city of embarkation, so everything runs smoothly for every trip.
You’ll also benefit from our proofreading and error service, rapid processing of your application, our secure payments system and our friendly and helpful 24/7 customer service.
When you use our ESTA Visa site, you’ll find it simple to fill in the form and the application will only take around 10 or 15 minutes for each person, before you’re done and ready to contemplate sipping that margarita on Venice Beach or visiting the Statue of Liberty.
If you make sure you have all of your travel details and your current passport to hand, the process will be very smooth and you’ll be done in no time.
Why not get started by filling in our application form today? You’ll receive your US ESTA visa for the USA in your inbox within 24 hours.