With increasing security concerns and immigrant crises, many countries have started online authorization systems to keep a track record of the people visiting their respective areas. These systems allow visitors to travel the states without a visa for up to 90 days. ESTA is such an authorized visa waiver program for people who wish to travel to the United States of America.
ESTA stands for “Electronic System for Travel Authorization.” It is an online system that indicates whether an individual is eligible to travel the US free of a visa.
Previously visa waiver programs had a lot of manual working load where the applicants had to fill in extensive application forms on a plane into the US. One of the major drawbacks of these systems was that it was after your arrival that the US security would evaluate your forms, interrogate further and would then declare you eligible or ineligible. However, this is not the case anymore. ESTA, as its name indicates, is an online, electronic system that confirms your visiting eligibility before your visit, saving not only time but your money as well.
All you have to do is to complete a simple ESTA visa form online, providing all the required information correctly. The US authorizations investigate the provided information and inform you about your eligibility beforehand.
ESTA visa is a must for people who wish to enter the US territory. The eligible applicants are free to come by air or sea but their visiting duration will be 90 days only. The visitors shall not be allowed to work but visit the states for tour purposes. They can also visit around for business and medical purposes.
How much does ESTA cost?
ESTA visa costs $14 per application. $10 goes to “the US tourism promotion fund” and the remaining $4 covers administrative expenditures of ESTA. Payments are made via PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, etc. One thing to keep in mind is that the ESTA visa doesn’t guarantee your entry into the USA. It just declares that you’re eligible to travel. The US customs and border protection (CBP) officer is the one to decide your entry into America. He/she finally decides whether you’re allowed in or not. This may sound unpleasant but there are very few cases of denial reported since ESTA was introduced.
How does ESTA work?
There is a specific list of countries, generated by ESTA, whose citizens are declared eligible for the respective visa waiver program. If you wish to apply, you must consider the list first and find out whether your country is included in it. One should proceed with the application procedures only if he/she is a citizen of an eligible country.
CBP website includes the ESTA webpage and can provide you with all the relevant details regarding the application procedures. Note that ESTA is a web-based system and is operated by CBP; therefore all the information to be added in the application form must be true as the form undergoes critical investigations.
After filling in the form you have to submit the required fee. Once the fee is submitted, the record is processed for investigation. The applicant is informed in cases of acceptance and denial, both. In case of acceptance, you can start preparing for your trip and in case of denial; you can contact the authorities for reasons and queries.