The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an online application system that allows visa-exempt foreign nationals to travel to the US for tourism and business purposes without obtaining a visa. ESTA is valid for two years and allows travelers to stay in the United States for up to 90 days per trip.
In this article, we will delve into the details of ESTA and answer the question: "How long can you stay in the USA with ESTA?"
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
ESTA is a travel authorization program that was introduced by the United States Department of Homeland Security in 2009 as part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the US for tourism and business purposes without obtaining a visa as long as their trip does not exceed 90 days.
To be eligible for ESTA authorization, travelers must be from a country participating in the VWP and must have a valid passport from that country. Here are the requirements you must fulfill to obtain an ESTA:
Have a valid passport from a VWP participating country.
Have a return or onward ticket.
Not have a criminal record or pose a security risk to the United States.
Not have previously been denied a visa or ESTA or have previously overstayed the allowed period of stay in the United States.
ESTA Application Process
Compared to a traditional US visa, applying for an ESTA is undoubtedly a more convenient option. You don't have to visit the embassy or follow complicated steps. You can complete this entire process from the comfort of your home by partnering up with VisaHQ.
To apply for ESTA, you will need to follow these steps:
Go to the VisaHQ website: First of all, you need to visit VisaHQ and select your citizenship as well as a travel destination to start the ESTA application process.
Fill out the ESTA application form: You will be asked to provide personal and passport information, as well as answer questions about your travel plans and background. Make sure to fill out the form accurately and completely.
Pay the application fee: There is a fee for applying for ESTA, which includes both the embassy fee as well as the service charges. You can pay this fee using a credit or debit card.
Submit your application: Once you have completed the ESTA application form and paid the fee, you can submit your application. It typically takes a few days to receive a decision on your application.
It's important to note that ESTA is not a visa, and it doesn’t guarantee your entry into the USA. A Customs and Border Protection officer will make the final determination of whether you are allowed to enter the United States at the port of entry.
ESTA Processing Time
The processing time for ESTA applications can vary, but most applications are processed within 72 hours. In some cases, applications may be processed in as little as a few hours, while in others, it may take up to a week.
It is important to apply for ESTA as soon as you start planning your trip to the United States, as the authorization is valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever occurs first. This means that you can make multiple trips to the United States within a two-year period without having to reapply for ESTA.
If you need to travel to the United States urgently, you can expedite the processing of your ESTA application by paying an additional fee. Expedited ESTA applications are generally processed within 48 hours.
How Long is ESTA Valid for?
Once approved, ESTA stays valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever occurs first. This means that travelers can make multiple trips to the United States within a two-year period without having to reapply for ESTA.
However, it is important to note that ESTA only allows travelers to stay in the United States for up to 90 days per trip, meaning you cannot use ESTA to live in the United States on a long-term basis.
Can ESTA be extended?
It is not possible to extend ESTA beyond the 90-day maximum stay per trip. If travelers wish to stay in the United States for longer than 90 days, they must obtain a visa from the United States embassy or consulate in their home country before traveling.
It is important to note that overstaying the allowed period of stay on ESTA can result in being denied entry to the United States in the future and could lead to other immigration consequences.