Electronic System for Travel Authorization

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) examines the eligibility of foreign nationals entering the US as part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It came into action from January 12, 2009, as implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Any citizen from the 38 participating countries under the VWP can travel to the US for up to 90 days with the possession of an authorized ESTA. Also, the citizens of the said countries with an authorized ESTA will not need any visa to enter the US.

The citizens willing to travel to this nation should apply for USA ESTA as and when they start planning the trip and at least 72 hours before the date of departure to avoid certain inconveniences. If they apply for it on the day of departure, they may face troubles or may have to cancel the trip if the ESTA is not approved. Any traveler with an unapproved ESTA can also be restrained from boarding their flight to the US.

An approved USA ESTA visa will allow the visitors to enjoy multiple entries into the US within the validity of two years. If the validity of the passport expires before two years after the authorization of this travel permit, the applicants should apply for a new application with a new passport, if they wish to travel further. Any changes in personal information in the passport, like name, gender, citizenship, or acquiring a new passport will require the foreign nationals to submit a new application for this permit. If a traveler already has this permit, he/she doesn’t have to pay fees for updating minor information on the application. But visitors having new passports and re-applying for an ESTA require to pay the ESTA fees.

The travelers entering this country should have a valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months beyond their desired period of stay. Citizens coming from the countries included in the Six-Month Club Update are excluded from the six-month stay criteria and they should only have a valid passport for their required period of stay.

Generally, the applicants are not able to know the reason for their ESTA disapproval. Neither the US Embassy is responsible to check the status of the applicants’ application and to provide a reason for disapproval, nor will it resolve the trouble caused. To know more information regarding the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, one can go through the frequently asked questions on the website of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or submit an inquiry at the CBP info Center which is available 24/7.

The entire application process can be completed in significantly less time, to be precise, it takes not more than 25 mins in general. Using a computer will be more advantageous to avoid mistakes rather than applying through smartphones or tablets. Providing correct and proper information in the application can reduce the chances of rejection. An error in the application can lead to its denial and it will also need one to undergo a lengthy interview procedure at the Embassy or Consulate.

These are just a few guidelines that you should know before obtaining an Electronic System for Travel Authorization successfully. To know more, you can go through the website of US Customs and Border Protection. Applying an ESTA with proper precautions and prior knowledge will save you from inconveniences caused at the last hour of your departure to the US.