The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA for short) is an automated system that determines if a potential visitor to the United States of America is eligible to enter the country under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It was introduced to strengthen the overall travel security to the USA. It is meant strictly for the citizens of the countries that do not need a Visa to enter the territories of the USA.
ESTA is a system that was first introduced by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, and it is necessary for travelers from the VWP countries who will arrive in the USA by either air or sea. The Visa authorization through the ESTA system does not determine if the traveler is admissible to country, as that is done by the USA Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers when the traveler actually arrives. The ESTA application only collects the biographic information and the answers to the VWP questions of eligibility.
Since December of 2018, the ESTA application system asks travelers to submit their applications at least 72 hours before the travel date. The travelers can apply as soon as they begin with the preparation of their travel plans, and even before they buy their airline tickets. All passengers without their respective ESTA will be denied to check-in at the airport. Since the year2010, The USA Customs and Border Protection has been charging a US $14 fee per one ESTA application. ESTA is also needed for territories like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can apply either as an individual or as a group of two or more people.
What you need in order to apply
In order to apply for an ESTA, you must be a citizen or an eligible national of one of the Visa Waiver Program countries. You must not already possess a visitor’s Visa, and your total stay must not exceed 90 days. The purpose of your travel to the USA needs to be business or pleasure.
Furthermore, every applicant has to have a valid passport from a Visa Waiver Program country. In order to pay for the fee, the applicant has to also own a valid credit card, which can be MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover (JCB, Diners Club). Alternatively, PayPal is a valid payment method.
The contact information of the applicant is necessary, as is the most recent employment information is there is one. You can get three different responses after your application was reviewed: Authorization Approved, Travel Not Authorized, or Authorization Pending.
Visa Waiver Program Countries
The following countries are eligible through the VWP: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Malta, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and United Kingdom.
If you are a citizen of another country not on this list, you cannot apply for an ESTA and must obtain a Visa in order to enter the United States of America. You can find more on this website https://applyforesta.com