Foreign citizens who visit the United States use different travel documents, one of which is the USA ESTA. This document is one of the top documents of choice for visitors from ESTA-eligible countries. However, not everyone qualifies for it. Please keep reading to know what the ESTA is all about and who qualifies for it.
What Is ESTA?
The United States Of America ESTA is a special automated system that is designed to determine the eligibility of applicants who qualify for the US Visa Waiver Program. Contrary to popular opinion that the ESTA determines whether applicants are admissible into the United States, this system merely collates biographic information or answers to Visa waiver program questions.
It is the US Customs and Border Protection Agency that determines who qualifies for entry and who doesn’t, but they rely on information generated by the ESTA system to make the determination.
Applicants may submit their ESTA authorization application before their planned trip but are advised to submit theirs as early as possible to avoid delays. They are also advised to submit their applications before purchasing their flight tickets too.
USA ESTA For Business Persons and Tourists
The United States ESTA is for international travelers from foreign countries with plans to visit the United States any time soon. If you wish to visit for business or pleasure and are from an eligible country, you can visit using the electronic system for travel authorization. As long as you qualify for the visa waiver program, you can apply for an ESTA.
Electronic System Travel Authorization For Non Immigrant
The United States ESTA was previously called a non immigrant visa waiver or departure form. The document was essentially for visitors who planned to visit and stay in the US for a relatively short time. However, the US government launched the online ESTA to replace the old format on January 12, 2009. Rather than fill out a visa waiver form every time eligible visitors arrive in the US, they could apply for ESTA, which grants them multiple entries into the country. US ESTA is valid for 2 years and is attached to the registered passport.
However, the document automatically expires once the passport it is attached to expires; hence applicants are advised to use a relatively newly issued passport to apply for ESTA. Furthermore, since January 2010, visitors who qualify for visa waivers but don’t have ESTA are not allowed to board any US-bound aircraft. This is why it is important to complete the application form and obtain your ESTA before making the trip.
The United States ESTA was previously called a non Immigrant visa waiver or departure form. The document was essentially for visitors who planned to visit and stay in the US for a relatively short time. However, the US government launched the online ESTA to replace the old format on January 12, 2009. Rather than fill out a visa waiver form every time eligible visitors arrive in the US, they could apply for ESTA, which grants them multiple entries into the country. US ESTA is valid for 2 years and is attached to the registered passport.
Not For Convicts
Applicants who are ex-convicts are ineligible for the ESTA even if they are from countries on the visa waiver list. Part of the application process is enquiring whether the applicant has been convicted for any crime; if they have, they will be denied access into the US under the VWP.
Duration of Stay
Holders of ESTA can stay in the US for up to 90 days or less as long as they can prove with evidence the purpose of their visit and they have sufficient funds to cover their living expenses.
ESTA Application Requirements
The ESTA application requirements are as follows.
The applicant must be eligible for an ESTA in the first place. Only citizens from eligible countries may apply for the United States ESTA. Before applying for it, check to see if your country is among the eligible countries.
You can’t apply for ESTA with an ordinary passport, as only an electronic passport is permissible. E passports have a chip in them that contains all vital information about the holder and the visa.
Proof of Fund
The applicant must provide documents to prove that they have sufficient cash balance to fund their trip and living expenses.
A valid email address to receive the ESTA.
A debit or credit card with sufficient funds to pay the ESTA application fee
Note that the United States ESTA cannot be extended or renewed. To get a new USA ESTA, the existing one has to expire first before applying for a new one. Furthermore, the ESTA is not transferable from one person to another, and two persons cannot use the same ESTA.