ESTA Visa for Travelers Visiting USA
The ESTA, or Electronic Travel Authorization System, is not a Visa. It is essential to make this distinction. A valid ESTA authorization is not sufficient to satisfy the legal requirements of a visa. Visa holders for the United States can enter the country to fulfill the purpose of the visa. In other words, US visa holders do not need to apply for the US regardless of their reason or length of stay. An authorized ESTA is not a guarantee of entry to the United States.
ESTA is a simple visa waiver program that only serves a small audience.
- This is for visa-exempt citizens;
- This is for travelers who only travel temporarily (up to 90-day trips).
- A valid biometric passport is required.
If a person meets these conditions, they may apply for ESTA to travel to the United States for up to 90 days. Applicants for an ESTA waiver visa must meet a few other requirements.
ESTA USA Visa Application
The US government launched the Electronic System for Travel Authorization in the summer of 2008. This system allows travelers to be pre-screened from countries with which it has a visa-free travel agreement. In less than a calendar year, ESTA was made mandatory for all travelers from visa-exempt countries, including some European nationals, entering the United States.
Since then, ESTA is now a “travel authorization” that must be obtained; it’s not a visa in the traditional sense.
ESTA requirements apply to millions of travelers entering the US via air or sea. The biometric passport must be machine-readable. Those who are eligible for boarding will not be allowed to board flights bound for the United States without an authorized ESTA Travel Authorization or a valid US Visitor Visa. The United States suggests applying for ESTA at least a few weeks before your flight. The application must be submitted at least 72 hours before departure.
Am I eligible to travel to the US without a visa?
Visa-free entry is available to all citizens of Visa Waiver Countries. Visa Waiver Program has several limitations, but its primary benefit is the fact that it does not require a visa to enter America. If you have a passport from a Visa Waiver Program country and are a national of that country, you can apply online for ESTA USA using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
This program allows for up to a 90-day visit to the United States without requiring a visa for business, tourism, transit, or medical reasons.
The following countries are currently part of the Visa Waiver Program, and their citizens are eligible for ESTA: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Croatia, Czech Republic, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, Taiwan.
Who is not eligible to apply for an ESTA visa?
Certain groups are prohibited from applying for ESTA travel authorizations under the Visa Waiver Program. You cannot apply for ESTA if you belong to one of these groups. You must instead apply for a standard US visa in order to enter the country. The following categories are not eligible for ESTA.
- Nationals of Visa Waiver Countries that have visited Iran, Iraq, or Somalia since 2011, as well as Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Lybia (delegates, military personnel, and officials are exempt).
- Dual Citizenship holders from Visa Waiver Countries with Iran, Iraq, or Syria
- Those who have been refused entry to the US or deported before.
- Those who have been previously convicted of a crime or for specific crimes;
- Those who have violated the entry requirements for the United States in the past, such as a traveler that has overstayed a previous visa.
Validity of ESTA US travel authorization
ESTAs are valid for up to two years unless your passport expires earlier. Visitors with valid ESTA can stay in the United States for up to 90 days. As long as you possess a valid ESTA and meet the requirements to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, you don’t need to apply for a visa waiver every time you enter or exit the country. If you get a passport or change your name, you will need to submit a fresh ESTA.
The following situations will invalidate your ESTA:
- You can change your name the first time you do so.
- Your passport (the one that you used to apply for ESTA) expires
- You will receive a new number for your passport.
- Two years after ESTA approval.
Each case is assessed individually. Ask the officials at the embassy or officials if you are unsure if you need to reapply.
Remember that ESTA approval does not guarantee entry into the United States. ESTA is not able to give explicit permission at the border to enter the United States. CBP officials are the only ones who can decide if you can enter. The airport border officer determines if you can enter the country and for how much time.
If your ESTA is about to expire in most cases, you won’t be able to extend your stay if you are already in the United States. For trips to Mexico or Canada, a 90-day extension is not granted.
41 countries are part of the Visa Waiver Program, which allows their citizens to enter the United States without a visa. ESTA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), became a requirement for the Visa Waiver Program as of January 12, 2009. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization is a system for all Visa Waiver Countries, including famous countries in the EU like France, Germany, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and many more. In addition, other countries like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, and New Zealand
Millions of travelers have been able to travel to the United States with only a biometric ID. In order to improve border security in the US, travelers must apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization before they travel. The main requirement for entering the United States is a machine-readable or electronic travel document from Visa Waiver countries. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) manages the online ESTA application process.
The ESTA Travel Authorization does not equal a visa. Citizens of nations not exempted from visa requirements should not apply for Travel Authorization.
The following countries are eligible for ESTA:
- Czech Rep.