Frequently Asked Questions About ESTA Visa Waiver Program
Travelling to the United States has become easier than ever. You don’t need to go through the tiring task of applying for a visa, all thanks to ESTA, the best visa waiver program. Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA, as many people like to call it, is a visa waiver program designed by the US government to help tourists visit the United States of America without a visa.
Basically, ESTA is an alternative to the regular visa process. If you are eligible for ESTA, you can easily apply for it online and if everything goes right, you’ll get your application approved within 48 hours. While ESTA is a fairly easy process, people have several confusions regarding the entire program.
Some people don’t know what ESTA actually is, while others have no knowledge regarding the actual eligibility criteria. That’s why we have decided to share a detailed list of frequently asked questions regarding ESTA visa waiver program.
In case you have any queries regarding ESTA, continue reading, the following guide will help you clarify every doubt that you have. So, without any further ado, let’s jump straight into the ESTA FAQs.
ESTA-Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Anyone Apply for ESTA?
No! While ESTA is a great program, the US has allowed citizens from only a few selected countries to apply for ESTA. If anyone wants to visit the United States outside of these countries, they’ll have to follow the regular visa application process. This is basically a precautionary measure from the US government’s side to let selected individuals enter the country. Some of the countries that are eligible for ESTA include France, Germany, Ireland, Australia, Italy, United Kingdom, etc.
What Kind of Passports Do You Need to Apply for ESTA?
In order to travel under the visa waiver program, it is important to have the latest e-passport. An e-passport is a more secure way to verify the passport as it contains a digital chip that contains biometric information about the passport owner. In case you still have an old passport, you’ll have to upgrade it before applying for ESTA.
Do ESTA and Visa Mean the Same?
No! ESTA and Visa are far different from each other. In fact, they differ from each other in many ways. Basically, ESTA is one of the alternatives for the traditional visa process. With an approved ESTA application, you can travel to the United States anytime for a time period of two years. However, you cannot stay for more than 90 days at one point in the country.
How Far in The Advance Should I Apply for ESTA?
Even though the ESTA application is approved within 48 hours at maximum, it is still a wise strategy to apply for an ESTA application as soon as you plan your trip to the United States. Even if you are months away from traveling to the country, make sure to apply for the ESTA application. The reason being, even if your application gets rejected due to any reason, you can still re-apply with all the correct details and documents.
For How Long an ESTA is Valid for the Traveler?
A person with an approved ESTA application is allowed to travel to the United States for two years. However, as we mentioned earlier, you can’t stay in the country for more than a 90-days time period.
In case you are caught staying for a longer period of time, the local authorities have all the rights to take legal actions against you, which can further lead to critical issues. So, if you want to stay in the country for more than 90 days, ESTA is not the right option for you. In this case, you’ll have to get the traditional Visa.
Who Can Apply for ESTA Visa Waiver Program?
As of now, only tourists and people who are on a business trip can visit the country through a Visa Waiver program. In any other case, like when you want to study or work in the country, you’ll have to apply for a regular visa. However, if you are a tourist, getting an ESTA is a far more convenient option than getting a Visa.
These are a few of the questions that people frequently ask about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Now, that you know what ESTA is and how you can get one, make sure to apply for an ESTA application.