A few years back I had an opportunity to travel to the USA for work, I remember how flustered I was about it. Mostly because I had no one to guide me or even advice me on how I can apply for an ESTA. It did take me a little to get my head around it all so today I am pleased to be sharing this guest post.
Travelling to the United States is a lot more simple than you may think. For example, there are 38 countries eligible to travel to the US without a visa. Those countries include the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and many more. Instead of applying for a visa to enter the US, citizens that participate in the Visa Waiver Programme can enter the United States by applying for an ESTA.
Now you may be wondering… What is ESTA? You’d be right to wonder, as it isn’t very well-known. It stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, and it’s an electronic resource that allows nationals of the aforementioned countries access into the US without a visa. The process of applying for is very straightforward, especially when you compare that to the process for a visa.
For example, when applying you only have to complete one online form which takes roughly 30 minutes, from start to finish. Within a matter of seconds, applicants usually know whether their ESTA has been accepted or not. The cost of an ESTA: $14.
*When applying, you must ensure that you have an electronic passport. Failure to meet this requirement means you would have to apply for a visa to enter the US.
Now, to apply for a visa; you have to complete numerous application forms, online and in person. Not to mention, you have to actually travel to the embassy. Furthermore, applications can take up to three months before you know if your visa has been accepted or not. Talk about time-consuming. The cost of a visa: upwards of $100.
The main benefits are simple.
Once your ESTA has been granted and have the go ahead to enter the US, you can travel to the US as often as you please, for TWO WHOLE YEARS. That is, of course, unless your passport expires before that two-year time frame. In which case, you would have to apply for a new ESTA. When you enter the US, you can stay there for 90 days per visit.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking to work or study; you will need a visa. ESTA’s are only for tourists, business matters and those with connecting flights. Nothing more, nothing less.
To apply for your ESTA, visit official website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/