What is ESTA?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) refers to a quick form filled online. It helps potential travelers visit the United States of America under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The United Kingdom is among over thirty-eight countries involved in the program. This method eliminates the need for tourists to apply for a US visa. Travelers have to meet the set standards to be eligible for ESTA before starting their journey. Due diligence is conducted by the United States government for every ESTA applicant to weed out criminals. This program only allows the applicant to stay in the US for only ninety days at one time even though it is valid for a period of two years. Before application people should consider the following insights.
How do You Apply for ESTA?
- Apply as Early as Possible
When it comes to ESTA application, foreigners should complete the process three days in advance before traveling to the US. The requirements include; passport, air travel information, and US destination address. After the application, travelers are advised to keep their application numbers in a safe place. A printout of the ESTA number comes in handy for better record keeping although it is not a requirement during the visit. An early application gives enough time to book a better hotel and a good flight with the peace of mind. Applying in a hurry can lead to mistakes or even culminate in the rejection of the visa.
- Disclose All Information Required
Every ESTA applicant wishing to travel to the US should disclose all necessary information during the application. This information includes earlier arrests in any country across the world, denial of a United States visa or denial of entry into the United States among others. Lack of disclosure may be treated as attempted fraud and the tourist can be blocked from entering the country. The validity of ESTA authorization is two years or upon expiry of the passport. Therefore, applicants should renew their ESTA the next time they want to travel to the US.
- Consider Application Fee in Your Budget
While applying ESTA it is advisable to include the fees charged in your budget. Most travelers budget for the stay in the US and accommodation but end up forgetting the charges. However, this can lead to inconveniences if a traveler is on a fixed budget. In fact, it costs approximately seventy-four US dollars to complete the application and the charges are paid through credit card. A proper budget helps the tourist have peace of mind during the vacation.
- ESTA Serves A Travel Document Not Visa
Many travelers tend to confuse ESTA and visa. The application process for the two is similar in many ways. There are charges in applications, complex screening, and a lengthy declaration before the request is granted. However, visa application is costlier and the waiting period is longer compared to ESTA which is cheap and easy. Surprisingly, ESTA gives a chance for a tourist to avail him/herself at the US border. After which the Border Patrol Agents decide whether or not to allow the person in the country. It also does not allow a person to start working in the United States. This means that to work in the US you need to have a passport instead.
That’s it – now make sure to go to Youtube and check some Do’s and Don’t for the US of A – like this awesome, hilarious, but on point video: