The ESTA visa application is a swift online process that eligible travellers can proceed with in order to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). There are currently 38 countries which are part of this program, allowing their citizens to travel for tourist or business purposes without a regular visa. The prominent reason to establish this program is to make travel easier to the USA where the ESTA and the VWP have been a great success in terms of attracting visitors. That being said, some things are often misunderstood when it comes to the ESTA US visa. Therefore, to clear out these misunderstandings, here are some myth-busting facts that you should cognize.
1) ESTA is non-extendable.
Once you have filled your ESTA application form, you will receive an email in 24 hours about your approval status. If your application will be approved, you can check your ESTA validity in the mail sent to you electronically. As per official guidelines, the validity of this travel authorization lasts only up to two years and cannot be extended, leveraging you to enjoy multiple entries.
2) The ESTA is a visa.
There is often confusion about whether the ESTA is one of many types of visa or not. The answer to this confusion is “no” because it is a visa waiver. The process of applying for the ESTA is different from a normal USA visa. The actual US visa application takes significant time and it costs more, whereas the ESTA application is quick and entirely done online.
3) ESTA is only valid upon arrival in the US.
Your ESTA needs to be valid when you arrive in the United States, but chances are it is not valid when you leave the country. It is because the ESTA is your ticket to the USA. But the condition of the Visa waiver still applies that you cannot exceed 90-days period and nor you can work there. So essentially, you’ll not face any issues when it comes to leaving the United States.
4) 90 days period doesn’t reset.
As a part of the Visa Waiver Program, visitors can stay in the country for tourism or business purposes for a period of up to 90 days. However, in most of the cases when you leave the country, the 90 day timer generally resets, which means if you are coming for a business trip to the US for 2 weeks, then return to your home country for a month before visiting back again to the US, then your ESTA period return to zero, instead of counting the first two weeks toward 90 days.
5) ESTA alone will grant you entry.
The ESTA is just a tool that gets you to the US border. The ESTA application form only serves the opportunity to declare certain information about yourself but the main decision lies with the Border Patrol Agent as to whether to allow you to enter the country or not to let you in. It is also necessary to take additional documents with you so that you can show it to the Border Patrol Agent in case of any unpleasant situations.
Once you’re aware of these things, every other aspect of the visa ESTA USA will be straight forward and easy to understand. These points will also clear your doubts associated with the ESTA, therefore, bear these points in mind when applying for ESTA application.