According to the US government's visa waiver program (VWP), Estonian citizens no longer require a visa to enter the country. However, this visa exemption is only valid for a short period of time. Moreover, Estonians do need a travel document to enter the United States of America.
The US has different visa policies for each foreign country. So, before you start your journey, you must find out which visa category is suitable for you to travel to the USA. Here's everything an Estonian passport holder needs to know before traveling to the United States of America.
ESTA - Electronic System of Travel Authorization
Through their visa waiver program, the USA has started the ESTA program. The ESTA allows different nationalities to visit the US for study, medical, transit, tourism, and business purposes. With the ESTA program, citizens of different countries, including Estonia, can stay in the country for 90 days.
The ESTA program was started in 2009. It is a streamlined process, meaning the applicants can apply for an ESTA from the comfort of their homes. If, for some reason, an Estonian citizen wants to enter the USA without an ESTA, he/she is required to have a valid visa issued by the United States of America.
US Visa Options for Estonians
For different countries, the USA has different visa requirements. While some can apply for ESTA, others need to get a traditional visa before entering the country. In addition, some countries even enjoy the US visa exemption. Unfortunately, Estonia is not on the list. All Estonian citizens, including holders of ordinary and service passports, are required to have a valid travel document to enter the USA.
Even if you are transiting through the country, you need to get a transit visa. Here are some visa options for Estonian passport holders:
You can consider the ESTA an e-visa. It is a document that allows you to visit the United States of America without applying for a traditional visa. The best thing about ESTA is that it is a completely streamlined process.
You can apply online to get an ESTA. You don’t even have to visit the US embassy in Estonia to get an ESTA. This document allows multiple entries and is valid for up to 2 years.
If, for some reason, an Estonian citizen is not eligible for ESTA, he/she is required to get a traditional "stamp" or "sticker" visa. For this approach, you'll need to visit the US embassy located in Estonia.
If you have an ESTA but want to stay in the country for more than 90 days, you can apply for a B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant visas. The B-1 visa is for business purposes. Alternatively, if you want to enter US for tourism, you can apply for a B-2 nonimmigrant visa.
Applying for an ESTA online
The ESTA is a mandatory registration for all Estonian citizens wasting to access the USA. Fortunately, applying for an ESTA is quite simple. All you need to do is:
Fill out the ESTA application form
Pay the MRV fee
Submit the application
The best thing about ESTA is that it is a completely online process. You can apply for an ESTA on your own.
To get an ESTA, Estonian citizens are required to provide some important documents. Three of the basic things that you should have to get an ESTA are:
A valid passport
An active e-mail address
A debit card or credit card
To fill out the visa application form, you'll need to provide personal details, contact details, and travel details. Also, make sure your passport has at least 6 months of validity from the first entry date.
In addition, if you have a machine-readable passport issued on or after October 26, 2005, through October 25, 2006, make sure it has a digital photograph on the info page. If not, you might need an e-passport with an integrated chip containing the information from the data page.
Estimated Processing Time
The processing time might differ from visa applicant to applicant. However, on average, Estonians can get their ESTA within 3 business days.
US Embassy in Estonia
As long as you are eligible for a US ESTA, you don’t need to visit the United States embassy. You can simply get your ESTA, which is valid for 2 years, book your flight and enter the USA by air.
However, if you cannot get an ESTA, you must visit the US consulate in Estonia. At the embassy, you'll need to fill out the visa applications and submit the application in person. You might also have to schedule an interview to get your travel visa.
The US Embassy Address
Kantmanni 20, 10116 Tallinn