Thanks to the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and VWP (Visa Waiver Program), a lot of travelers can now easily travel to the United States without going through the lengthy process of obtaining a visa. Even though there are numerous restrictions under the VWP itself, it is comparatively easy to obtain the ESTA and you can easily travel for a period of fewer than ninety days with your ESTA. Moreover, once you obtain an ESTA, you are free to use it for two years, in case your visa doesn’t expire before these two years. If your visa expires before your ESTA, you will have to apply for a new one once you get your new visa.
To enhance the program and improve every aspect of traveling for both the authorities and the travelers, the government can change some rules and regulations at times. As a frequent traveler, you should remain updated with the latest news on VWP to make sure you don’t break a rule and face denial. In recent years, the US government has made it clear that restrictions are going to get much stricter over time.
The travel ban which was implemented by the government under Donald Trump means that the people of countries with a majority of Muslims will get affected. Till now, no such big update has come up and for now, the rules for all listed countries under the Visa Waiver Program remain exactly in the same position as they were earlier.
When it comes to traveling to the US, the VWP plays a crucial role in deciding what you need to be able to start your tour. If you are a citizen of a country which doesn’t come under the VWP, you will have to go through the complete procedure for obtaining a traditional visa because it is the only legal and safe way to visit the US. Otherwise, if your visit is for a business or tourism purpose, and requires less than ninety days, you, as a citizen of a VWP listed country, can easily get an ESTA and travel without any trouble.
According to the recent updates, the US authorities are in talks over including Malaysia in the list of the VWP countries. If everything goes as planned, amidst the increased restrictions put on by the government, Malaysia would soon be added to the list. Besides the proposed addition of Malaysia to the VWP, there have been no further significant changes in the VWP.
Even though there are no changes in the ESTA rules and regulations in 2019 yet, there is still time as the government looks to make the travel much stricter and safer. Let us take a look at the possible changes that we could see in the upcoming year.
The ESTA cost, which is different for various countries, depends on the relation your country shares with the United States. The cost could change in the future, but you don’t have to worry as it would not suddenly shoot sky-high, and you would still find it convenient enough, especially compared to the visa.
If you are a first timer when it comes to applying for ESTA, you should be careful while filling out the USA ESTA application form which is available online. Although you won’t have to hire a travel agent or attorney, cross-checking every information you fill with the original documents before the final submission is important. Even a small spelling mistake can lead to the rejection of your application and hence, you should know absolutely everything about how to apply for USA ESTA visa.