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July 09, 2018

Get Familiar with Certain ESTA Requirements and Conditions Before Applying

If your plan is to visit US by sea or air then apply for ESTA [Electronic System for Travel Authorization]. ESTA is a visa waiver program. Obtaining an ESTA means there is no need to get travel visa for United States. It provides a limited stay of three months.

Unlike full visa application, ESTA does not need a one-on-one interview process or providing a myriad of documents as proof of their goal to return back to their native place, after a visit to the US. Thus, eligible applicants can save significant effort and money, while preparing their tour to the US.

ESTA application process takes minimal 72 hours but it is recommended to apply early, just in case. Process is instant and simple, if requirements are at hand. Many websites handle the ESTA applications. ESTA application official approval means you will not need to apply again because waiver program endures for two consecutive years.

Certain ESTA requirements and conditions

  • Remember all countries are not eligible for visa waiver program, so first find out if your country is on the list prior applying. Travelers from 38 countries listed under VWP that don’t own American visa are eligible for ESTA application.
  • Before you submit an ESTA application, ascertain if your passport is readable by machine. Usually, at the bottom passport has two lines & V's. check if your passport meets this online condition.
  • ESTA application is valid for three months stay, so if you desire to stay in the US for more than your request can get rejected. Your visit purpose like leisure or business is also essential. Activities like job search with an immigration status, which allows permanent citizenship or attending long term courses is disallowed under ESTA.
  • Keep your ESTA application number safely documented. Bear in mind that if your application gets approved, it does not mean you gain automatic entry in the US. Ultimate decision will be as per the entry point officer.
  • Travelers whose ESTA request got approved but passports will expire within 2 years will get a valid ESTA until passport’s expiry date.
  • If ESTA expires, when in the US then your departure will not be affected.
  • Application processing charges for ESTA are $4, will be charged to your credit card and is non-refundable [even if ESTA application gets denied]
  • Another Charge is of $10 form applicants whose ESTA request gets approved [as per Travel promotion Act, 2009]
  • CBP [Customs and Border Protection] is not accountable for 3rd party fees.

Note- Carry Printable documents of your records. Printouts are not necessary on arrival at the US airport because the officers have every information on their e-system. However, some airlines need print-outs on check-in. Therefore, check your respective airline and be prepared.

When is new ESTA approval needed?

New ESTA approval is necessary, when –

  • Your new passport gets issued
  • There is change of first or last name
  • Change in gender
  • Alteration in citizenship
  • Change in circumstances like convicted of crime or develop contagious disease

It is recommended to apply for ESTA the moment you plan a travel to the US under visa waiver program.

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