Known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, this visa waiver program of the United States uses an automated system to learn if the applicants who want to travel to the United States will be applicable for it. You have 39 countries that participate in ESTA for travel to the United States, and these non-immigrants can travel for either business or recreational purpose.
What to Know About ESTA Travel
You first have to understand how filling out an ESTA application doesn’t automatically mean that you will get permitted into the United States. Normally, they will determine your admissibility based on your arrival. Let’s understand some of the basics surrounding this law to better know how to proceed.
In general, the people who come to the United States will first have to have a visa. Those who come from certain countries, however, can fill out an ESTA application and remain within the United States for up to 90 days. During this time, they don’t have to worry that they will first need to apply for a visa. Those of a VWP nation can fill out the ESTA application to learn how to further proceed. The only others who can enter the United States without ESTA are those who enter through a land border crossing, or those who have citizenship in the United States.
How Long Will Travel Authorization Exist?
Someone’s travel authorization will work for up to two years or until their passport expires. Whichever comes first will determine this. Be aware: This can still change if the authorization gets withdrawn for one reason or another. It automatically expires after the passport has reached its termination date.
Does ESTA Count as a Visa?
Just because you have an approved ESTA application doesn’t mean that you have a visa. Those who are under this visa can travel to the United States for the purpose outlined, but they should also remain aware of the purposes for why they outlined it. Those who already have a valid visa don’t need to apply for ESTA because it accomplishes the same thing. You need to make a payment within seven days of having submitted your ESTA application for it to count as valid. Without a payment, the application will expire, and you will have to apply for it a second time.
What are some of the requirements for the passport under this visa waiver program? First, you must have an electronic passport if you want to use this system. In addition, the passport must have a machine-readable zone on it, known as the biographic page.
The Wait Time for ESTA Approval
To get an approval for an ESTA application, the process works on an automated system. Because of this, the average wait time sits at only a few minutes. Keep in mind, however, your approval could take up to 72 hours. Usually, you will receive an email telling you that you have received approval, or you will get a notification that it has been approved or rejected.
What If You Get Denied?
You do have cases where you won’t be eligible for the ESTA application. If this happens, you don’t want to apply again through ESTA because the automated system will most likely reject you again. Instead, you may find your time better spent to apply for a non-immigrant visa at the consulate or a U.S. embassy.
What to Understand
If you have a planned stay that will exceed 90 days, you should apply for a non-immigrant visa because it will suit your purposes better. You may also want to opt for the non-immigrant visa if you feel that your ESTA application will get rejected.
Some of the reasons a person could get rejected include:
- You overstayed on a previous stay.
- Incorrect answers on the application.
- You have a criminal record.
- Provided passport details that were lost or stolen.
- You are the victim of identity theft and someone committed a crime under your name.
Any one of these things could prevent you from getting into the United States. Understanding your rights can help you to apply for ESTA in the most effective way possible. Making use of the Government website esta.cbp.dhs.gov or working with a visa agency service can review your ESTA application and process it for you.