Whether you are planning a trip to the United States for business or a vacation, there are a number of key matters to organise before your trip.
As well as making sure that your passport is still valid, booking flight tickets and accommodation and looking up the top tourist attractions, you need to give consideration to travel authorization.
Since 2010, travellers from Visa Waiver Countries require an approved ESTA Travel Authorization to travel to the US. The ESTA allows travellers to visit the US (for business or leisure) without the need for a visa application, provided the visit is for less than 90 days.
How to apply for ESTA?
It is really important that you allow for plenty of time to submit your ESTA application, as although it is usually processed within 72 hours, if your application is rejected you may not be able to travel
The ESTA form is fairly easy to follow but take extra care to ensure that you do not miss any essential information as this could delay your application or even lead to it being declined. All fields marked with a red asterisk MUST be completed.
What information do I need to provide for ESTA application?
The first section of the ESTA form requires you to provide your name, address, DOB, gender, parents’ details and your contact details. You will also be asked about employment, social media details and emergency contact information.
The next section will go through your travel plans and your passport information and asks you whether you are a member of the CBP Global Entry Program. It concludes with a number of eligibility questions to ascertain whether you are eligible to travel to the US under the US government’s criteria. The final part is to pay and then submit your application.
How long is your ESTA valid for?
Your ESTA will be valid for two years from whenyou apply, so you can use it to travel multiple times in that period providing you are not in the US for more than 90 days. If you are not sure whether your ESTA is still valid, you can check the status via the website.
Apply for ESTA at least 72 hours before departure
Before you start thinking about what clothes to take for your trip to New York’s Broadway, or which beach you want to visit in California, make sure that you have had your ESTA approved. It is recommended that you give at least 72 hours for your application to be processed.If you think you may have some issues with the eligibility criteria, then it is better to apply as soon as you know your travel dates.
Once your ESTA has been approved you can get on with planning your holiday and deciding on your itinerary. Enjoy your trip!