On average, it takes about 3 to 5 weeks to get a temporary travel visa to the United States. Sometimes, it could take months, after which one might not even get positive feedback. With the US ESTA, things are much easier and faster.
What Is The US ESTA?
The US ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) started in 2009 as a part of the visa waiver program. The electronic system authorizes visitors to the United States without the need for a regular visa. It does so by checking their eligibility using the guidelines of the Visa waiver program.
With a US ESTA, one can travel at any time to the United States without a regular visa. The travel document, which is valid for 2 years, allows a visitor multiple entries into the United States. Each visit, however, is only for 90 days.
The ESTA is only open to foreign nationals whose aim of traveling to the United States is either tourism or business. Travelers coming to the United States for other reasons such as work or study have to apply to the United States Embassy in their area.
For a person to be eligible for the US ESTAvisa, one has to be a citizen of one of the eligible countries. Top of the list amongst these countries is the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Slovenia, France, Australia, Italy, Spain, Monaco, Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, Taiwan, Denmark, New Zealand, Belgium, etc.
How To Apply For The US ESTA
To apply for the US ESTA, citizens of eligible countries are required to fill out a form. The form which usually takes less than 5 minutes to fill can be found on the internet. In addition to that, such persons would be required to answer a few questions about their health and security. For the sake of safety, travelers are usually prescreened by homeland security before they are granted the ESTA.
In order to complete the application, applicants are required to have a valid email address and a debit card from which the application fee would be deducted. Also, applicants should have a valid passport from their home country. Such passports are expected to have an expiration of at least 6 months from the visitor’s expected date of arrival.
In most cases, processing the ESTA takes a day from the time of submission. However, in some cases, it could take as much as 3 days. It is advisable that travelers apply at least 3 days ahead of their trip to the United States to avoid disappointments. Minors from eligible countries are also required to have their US ESTA. The process is the same as for adults.
Once granted, the holder of the US ESTA would be contacted via email. You should print the visa and take it along when traveling. It is not common but in the case of rejection, one can contact the embassy of the United States in the person’s home country.