ESTA stands for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization and it is an automatic tool to assess the eligibility of travelers to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program. Here are a few important things to know about the ESTA system.
ESTA USA is mandatory for all individuals willing to enter the USA for either tourism, business, or transit purposes. If you don’t have this authorization, you won’t be allowed into the country, even if you only need to transit it to get to your final destination. Once you get it, you are allowed up to 90 days of traveling within the US, for either tourism or business purposes. Not all travelers are eligible to apply for a USA ESTA visa. Before applying for it, you have to ensure that your country is covered under the Visa Waiver Program by checking out the official ESTA list of countries.
Once you receive your ESTA authorization, you don’t need to reapply for as long as it remains valid or until your passport expires, which ever comes first. The validity period is two years.The fact that you have your ESTA approval doesn’t mean that you will be allowed to enter the USA, should the Customs and Border Protection officers consider otherwise. However, if you don’t have it, you’re surely going to be denied the entry.
While the US regulation doesn’t require you to print a copy of your ESTA, some airlines may ask you to do so. Be sure to check the specific conditions of your airline before you travel. Also, you should try to get your ESTA prior to booking flights or hotel rooms, just to be on the safe side, should any problems arise with your ESTA authorization. Last but not least, you may want to know that you can obtain your authorization within up to 24 hours from submitting your application.