ESTA is an electronic technique which is required for visitors who want to travel to US. ESTA was made mandatory after 9/11 Commission Act in 2009. ESTA form was earlier free of cost now, it is avialble online for $14, out of which $10 goes to Corporation of Travel Promotion and $4 goes to CBP which uses for administration expense. Passengers are required to show the approved ESTA form during check-in to the airlines authority.
Under the Visa Waiver program, those countries which were not required to get visa approved to enter USA through land or sea will have to get ESTA approved online. It isn’t a visa but if you’ve a valid visa then you don’t need an ESTA to fly to US. However, if you think that getting approved ESTA is a green signal to enter the land then it isn’t true. Even when you get a visa approved you still can be deport from US airport similarly, if you have an approved ESTA you can still be denied to enter the country on security grounds. Hence, you cannot completely rely on any of it.
When you go online you can search by typing on search engine USA ESTA or you can go to the authorized website if you know one. According to US government, the ESTA form should be applied at least 3 days before the travel day. Once the form is filled up, you also need to scan and send all documents that they require on the desired email. If all your documents are correct and reach on time then your ESTA gets approved in few seconds and you receive an email. However, if it doesn’t get approved then you have to follow the normal procedure of applying for visa at Consulate or US Embassy.
Here are few things that you should know about ESTA –
- In case your ESTA is denied then you can contact CBP to know the reason. This can be done when you have checked all formalities and you feel you have been denied incorrectly.
- If your visa is denied for any reason then it may be a possibility that you’re ESTA might also get refused.
- Provide an authentic email address that you check regularly. Any interaction is done through that email address.
- In your ESTA form, the expiry date is also provided, which indicates that renewal has to be done before that time period.
- An ESTA is valid for two years.
- Once you get your ESTA application number, enter all details exactly the way you entered in the approved application. For this, you need to go online on the website and search for your registered information and use the exact information.
- The most important thing that most people are unaware of if you have travelled to Sudan, Libya, Syria, or Yemen after 1st March 2011, then, you aren’t eligible for ESTA.
There are around 38 countries that are involved in Visa Waiver Program. It should be your prime duty to find if your country is also in the list before you plan your US trip.