The ESTA Application Guide
Electronic Travel Permit System, or simply called ESTA, is a permit you must obtain if you are going into the United States. So there are some formalities that need to be in order before you can drift off the US highways. ESTA must be applied online and may cause some hardship, but the vast majority of travelers get their application approved without any problem.
Who should apply for ESTA?
Certain citizens are covered by the so-called Visa Waiver Program, which allows you to stay in the United States for up to 90 days, on a travel permit.
The ESTA form must be completed to determine if you are eligible to travel under the aforementioned Visa Waiver Program and thus can stay in the United States visa-free for up to 90 days. If you are going to stay in the United States for more than 90 days, or you must work in the United States, you will need a visa. If you need a visa to the US, you must apply well in advance as you are going to an interview at the US Embassy. If you have a fugitive or foreign passport, you should contact the US Embassy before hearing what rules apply to your entry into the United States.
Let’s just take it again, to calm you down: the vast majority of travelers get their ESTA application approved (well over 90%). As is often the case, a rejection of the ESTA application results from the person who applied, has previously committed criminal acts, previously violated the rules on the 90 visa-free days (including not leaving), or completed the application incorrectly. So don’t worry if you don’t listen to the above.
How long should ESTA apply?
You must apply ESTA at least 72 hours before departure, but the US authorities recommend that you apply as soon as you know you need to enter the United States. If your ESTA application is rejected, you must apply for a visa, which requires an interview at the US Embassy, which is why it is a good idea to apply well in advance so that when you are rejected you have time to apply for a visa.
How long should the passport be valid?
Your passport must be valid for the period you are in the United States or have stated you wish to reside in the United States. If your passport expires 60 days after you enter the US, but you only have to stay in the US for 30 days, this is not a problem. It is therefore not a requirement that your passport is valid for all 90 visa-free days. NOTE: If you are going on a cruise in the United States, you may find that the shipping company requires your passport to be valid for 6 months in addition to the voyage. An emergency passport can only be used to travel out of the United States, not to enter!
Before applying, you need 3 things. Your passport, the address of your first night in the United States (You must have booked your first night in advance) and a credit card. When you enter the page, click on “new application”. Here you fill in the fields and finish paying. BUT just one you quit, just make sure you filled it out right. If you fill it out incorrectly and are rejected, you need to go past the US Embassy and apply for a visa, as described earlier.
Having an approved ESTA application gives you the right to board the flight to the United States. The final immigration does not happen until you arrive in the United States. We recently saw that some Airports that upon check-in, they asked to see a copy of my ESTA application. Coincidentally, I had printed it out, but I asked what happened if I couldn’t show it, and she replied that then you will not move on from here, but we have a printer you can borrow. So just print out your application if you don’t want to see her print room.
ESTA application validity.
An approved ESTA application is valid for 2 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. You can, therefore, travel to the United States on the same ESTA several times, without having to reapply (You will need to update it). A new visa-free 90-day period can only begin again after traveling for a reasonable period. It’s U.S. Customs And Border Protection, which determines what “a reasonable period” is. You must complete a brand new ESTA application if you have been given a new passport, renamed, committed serious crime or been infectious (seriously fatal, contagious) during the application period.
Update of ESTA application.
An approved ESTA application is valid for 2 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. If you are traveling again within the ESTA period, you must update your ESTA application with “Address while staying in the USA” (The first overnight stay), as well as your entry and departure dates. To log in and find current ESTA application, use your application number. However, it is also possible to search for it, based on your passport number.
Citizens of 38 countries and territories are eligible for visa-free entry into the United States under the VWP: