Since 2009, it has been a requirement for those living outside of the United States to be authorized for an ESTA to visit the country. This stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Many people are still confused about what the ESTA is, what it does, and how they can apply for one. In truth, it’s fairly simple, and there’s nothing you need to worry about. Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you need to know about the ESTA visa.
What is the ESTA Visa?
The ESTA visa is essentially an automated system that decides whether or not a person is allowed to travel to the United States. You can apply for one at least three days before visiting, but it’s best to apply as soon as possible to avoid complications. Please note that despite the name, an ESTA visa is not a full visa. The visa is a separate document that has a much longer approval process, and it’s not necessary if you’re from a Visa Waiver Country.
Who Needs It?
An ESTA is needed if you have a passport, and you plan to visit the United States from a Visa Waiver Country. This is regardless of whether you’re visiting for business or tourism. Also note that this applies to minors as well. However, an ESTA is not necessary if you’re entering the US by land from Canada or Mexico. Also, you will not need an ESTA if you already have a valid visa.
How Long Can You Stay?
Having an ESTA allows you to stay in the country for 90 days. This 90 day clock begins the first day you enter the country. Also, the clock doesn’t stop if you visit nearby territories such as Canada and Mexico. Once you’re approved, your ESTA remains valid for two years starting on the day you first receive it. However, if your passport expires during this time, your ESTA will as well.
How Do I Apply?
Applying for an ESTA USA visa is actually pretty easy. The entire process is online and should only take about ten minutes. There’s no paperwork involved whatsoever. The vast majority of people are approved in less than 24 hours. In fact, approval usually only takes a few minutes. Make sure don’t put any false information in your application. If you do, it can jeopardize your ability to enter the country.
What if I’m Not Approved?
Being rejected for an ESTA Visa is actually a very rare situation. Odds are, this isn’t something you’ll have to worry about. Still, if you are rejected for some reason, you can re-apply in ten days. You also still have the ability to apply for a travel visa. However, this is a much longer and more complicated process. This is why you’re recommended to apply for your ESTA as soon as possible.
With this information, you have everything you need to know about the ESTA visa. Again, it’s a fairly simple process, and there’s no need to feel intimidated. Start applying today, and you’ll be able to visit the US in no time.