esta visa usa

ESTA Basic Information

The US government implemented the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in 2009. Its introduction was aimed to facilitate entry to the United States for travelers from member countries of the Visa Waiver Program. Eligible travelers do not need to obtain a regular visa to travel to the US for business, tourism, or transit purposes. Nevertheless, they need to hold a valid US ESTA. Application for ESTA is a very short and intuitive process since applicants can make it from home using any electronic device with Internet access. No Embassy visits are necessary - the approved ESTA is mailed to the applicant’s inbox. Every ESTA application requires covering the processing fee of 49 Euro.

Holders of ESTA are allowed multiple entries to the States throughout its 2-year validity period. Every single stay in the US can last even up to 90 days. All applicants must remember to apply for ESTA at least 72 business hours prior to their intended trip to the US in order to receive the approved authorization on time without any issues. Important note: ESTA does not entitle to take up any form of employment and cannot be used for any other long-term travel purposes. If you need to visit the US for other reasons than business, tourism, or tranist, you should contact the nearest US Embassy in your country to arrange a regular visa.

Tips for successful ESTA application:

  • use your passport which will not expire within at least 6 months from your planned trip to the US
  • make sure that the e-mail address provided in the online application is correct and the one that you frequently use
  • pay the service fee - without it, your application will not be approved
  • submit it at least 72 business hours in advance of your trip

ESTA Application Process

ESTA application should not take more than 15 minutes and can be completed from whatever location. It is necessary to have a working electronic device with a stable Internet connection to go through all the application steps and receive the ESTA approval. These steps require every applicant to:

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Step One

Enter all the required personal and travel information into the online form, and check twice if all the provided data is correct.

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Step Two

Cover the ESTA processing fee, which is only 49 Euro.

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Step Three

Check an email inbox for the confirmation number and approved ESTA.

Requirements for ESTA to the US

The requirements for ESTA to the USA are standard ones and can be easily met by every applicant. Before applying for ESTA, first, you need to check if your country is listed among eligible ones.

If you made sure that you can apply for ESTA online, you will need to prepare the following:

A valid passport with at least 6-month validity

A tablet, laptop, smartphone, or any other Internet-accessed device

A frequently used email address to receive the approval of your ESTA application

A credit/debit card, or any other valid means of online payment to cover the ESTA fee

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More Information

What is US ESTA?

ESTA is an online travel authorization allowing multiple entries for travelers from countries taking part in Visa Waiver Program. Eligible travelers can visit the US without a regular visa, but they need to hold a valid ESTA, which is obtainable entirely online.

Can I fly without ESTA to the US?

No. All travelers who come from visa-free countries need ESTA to enter the US without any issues. A traveler who cannot show a valid ESTA, will not be able to board the flight to the States. Countries not listed among ESTA eligible need to arrange a visa at one of the nearest US Embassy.

Which countries need US ESTA?

All countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program must hold a valid ESTA to travel to the States. Before applying for ESTA, every applicant should first check the list of ESTA eligible countries.

Do I need ESTA for transit?

All travelers who only plan to stop in the US on their way to another country need to have a valid ESTA. Even those who will not leave the transit zone area need to obtain ESTA before their trip.

What if I overstay US ESTA?

Overstaying US ESTA can lead to serious legal consequences, even if it is one day. A traveler can be given a ban on entry to the US for 5-10 years. It is not worth risking, so make sure you will leave the States before your ESTA expires.

Do I need a print-out of my ESTA?

Upon approval of your ESTA application, you will receive an email with a PDF document. You do not have to print your ESTA out. Its electronic copy is enough as every ESTA is automatically linked to the applicant’s passport. Save its copy on your electronic device and be prepared to show it during the airport control.