Electronic System for Travel Authorization, also known as ESTA, is an automated system that was introduced by the United States Visa Waiver Program. This service is basically created for the citizens of countries that do not require any visa to travel to the US. But even though you don’t require a visa, you will need an ESTA. You can apply for it by filling a form, where you will have to provide your biodata and answer some questions as well. But, before you start to apply for a visa, read this article to understand what it really is.
Who Can Apply For ESTA?
As this is a part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), only citizens from the eligible country can apply for it. The program lets you enter the USA for 90 days for tourism or business purposes. However, having an ESTA does not guarantee you an entry in the US. The entrance is decided on your arrival after you have gone through customs & border protection. You will not be allowed to board on any flight or ship service if you do not have a valid ESTA. The only case where you will be permitted to enter without it is if you are coming through the land. You will also need to have an e-passport to apply for a visa.
How Can You Apply for It?
There is no physical form available to apply for ESTA, as it is an online procedure. The form can be filled on the official website for the program. Make sure you have at least 30 minutes when you sit to apply for the ESTA because you will need that time to answer questions and collect the required documents. There is no faxing or document mailing process involved either. The form can get timed out as well, so make sure that you have a fast and reliable internet connection.
How Much Will it Cost?
Now, the real question is it the process going to cost you a lot of money? The answer is simple; no, it’s not. You can get your visa approved with the help of several different companies offering the service. The charges for the process will depend on the company through which you will be processing. However, the general fee charged for the VWP program is about $14. The companies will also charge you for the service, counseling and the foreign exchange rate. Apart from these, there are no extra charges that are needed to be paid. So, make sure the company you opt for charges the right amount of money. Check out rates of a few agencies that are providing this service and then decide after comparing the rates.
How Long Does It Take To Get Approved?
ESTA is an online automated process, and that is why it does not take much time for an application to get approved. You can apply for a regular, or you can choose the urgent option if you need it approved immediately. With normal ESTA USA and processing (like one from www.estavisausa.net), you will get an approval within 72 hours. If you are lucky you can get it approved in hours or even minutes, but you have to consider that it can take up to 72 hours. But if it is an emergency and you need your application approved as soon as possible, you can apply for urgent ESTA. With this option, your application will get approved within 60 minutes. But keep in mind the processing time could vary depending on the server’s performance as well. Sometimes the servers are down, and it could slow down the entire process.
In some cases, even an urgent application can take up to 72 hours. You will also have to pay an extra fee if you have opted for an urgent option. So it is recommended that you apply at least three days before you plan to visit the country. This is a much safer option.
What Is the Validity Period for an ESTA?
Typically an ESTA is valid for two years. And within those two years, you can stay in the USA for no more than 90 days. You will also be emailed an expiration date for your ESTA by the government. But this does not mean that your request will not expire before the given time. There are various reasons for which the authorities can cancel your application. This also includes the validity of your password, because the ESTA is given out on a passport and if the passport expires, it will also expire. It is also recommended that you get your visa approved 72 hours before boarding your flight.
For What Reasons an ESTA Can Be Rejected
If your ESTA application is accepted, you will soon be notified and will be emailed a confirmation number to visit the US. But, in case of rejection, you will not be provided any specific reason. People who provide wrong information or do not fill their application properly are the ones most likely to receive a rejection. However, the majority of the applications get approved, and you should feel confident as long as you have followed the right procedure. Always check your data provided on the application twice. If you are applying via an agency or consultancy they will make it sure for you.
What Happens If an ESTA Gets Rejected
If you get rejected, there is no need to panic. You are still eligible to apply for the corresponding visa. It also does not decrease the chances of your visa approval. ESTA rejection only means that you are not eligible to visit the country under the Visa Waiver Program. It does not affect the traditional visa process. All you need to do is go to the nearest US embassy or consulate and apply there. In some countries, you might have to get an appointment date first from the embassy’s official website. So make sure you first find out the requirements for your country.