If you are planning a trip to the US but don’t have the time to apply for a USA VISA, then you might want to consider checking out if you are qualified to the travel to the US without a visa, which is by using a USA ESTA. In this article, we would discuss some things that you need to know about ESTA.
What is ESTA?
ESTA VISA is not actually a visa, but it works quite similar to a valid US visa. The reason why it isn’t considered so is that it doesn’t meet the legal requirements when a visa is needed. Travelers who have a valid US visa can enter the United States for the issued purpose.
However, if you are already traveling with a valid visa, you no longer need to apply for an ESTA. Also, the same way that a valid US visa doesn’t guarantee that you can enter the United States without any problems, having an approved ESTA will not also guarantee your admission to the country.
What are the Application Requirements?
If your country is part of VWP or Visa Waiver Program, you are required to apply for an ESTA. If you are from an eligible VWP country, you would need an ESTA to be able to travel to the USA for a business or vacation trip that doesn’t last for more than 90 days, for a transit flight through the US, or when you enter the US via land or sea.
There are about 36 countries that are required to apply for an ESTA, so if your country is one of them, then you can easily apply online without any hassle. But if your country is not among the list, then you are required to apply for a valid USA visa.
Furthermore, all applicants of ESTA are required to have a biometric passport for your whole stay, even for the children. The kid’s passport would not be valid, unless if it is an e-passport.
Who is Excluded from Traveling Visa-Free?
Here is a list of the following people who are not eligible to travel visa-free to the US with an ESTA:
- People from VWP countries who have traveled to Iraq, Libya, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan since 2011, cannot apply for an ESTA except for military and diplomat personnel.
- If you are a citizen from a VWP country, but also a dual citizen of Sudan, Iraq, Syria, or Somalia, you aren’t eligible to apply an ESTA.
- If you’ve been deported out of the United States or has been denied for an entry pass the border, then you cannot apply for an ESTA.
- If you have broken some of the rules of entry requirements in the US before.
- If you have committed some type of offense, have been arrested before, or has been previously convicted for a crime, then you aren’t eligible.
- If you are suffering from a disease that is communicable.
- And, if you are traveling to the US to study or to take up employment.
If one or most of the reasons that we have mentioned above apply to you, then you should apply for a USA visa, so that you can travel or enter the USA. In certain cases, individuals should also apply for a waiver.
When Should I Apply for an ESTA?
There is no deadline the authorities of US when you apply for an ESTA. However, it is highly recommended that you apply for it three days before your departure to the US. This way, by the time you enter the country, it’s ensured that you’re traveling to the country with a valid ESTA. You’ll also be able to show some proof when you check-in to your flight.
How Long Does the Completion Take?
Generally, it doesn’t take too long for you to fill out an application. If you already have a place where you’ll be staying in the US and have a valid passport at hand, then filling out the passport would only take less than half an hour to complete thoroughly. So, make sure you have the time to review your application before you submit your papers.
And that’s all you need to know when applying for an ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization. If your country is one of the countries that has a Visa Waiver Program, then you are eligible to apply for travel authorization. However, if some of the given reasons above has excluded you from applying for travel authorization, then you have no choice but to apply for a visa.