ESTA APPLICATION FOR TRAVELING TO USA WITHOUT E-VISA
ESTA is an acronym for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Prior to 2009, all travelers to the United States are required to possess a valid passport with a U.S. visa. Presently, nationals or citizens of countries under the U.S. Visa Waiver Program only need an ESTA approval to visit the United States for business trip, holiday or transfer/transit.
It is a mandatory electronic travel authorization for nationals or citizens of countries under the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. Anyone traveling from a visa waiver country must apply for ESTA to be eligible for boarding flight, ferry or cruise ship to USA.
U.S. ESTA Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits citizens holding passport of 39 countries to visit the United States for stays up to 90 days without a visa. The VWP is administered by the Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with State Department. The following are the countries currently under the U.S. VWP.
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- San Marino
From the beginning of April in 2016, there was a slight change in VWP as regards to passport type. Citizens or nationals from these countries must have an e-passport to be eligible for VWP. The e-passport is an enhanced passport with an embedded biometric chip, the holder’s information can be read off it easily with a biometric machine.
Effective from January 21st, 2009 till date, the U.S. Government changed policy for citizens or nationals of a country currently under the Visa Waiver Program who wish to travel to the United States for tourism, business trip or transit travel without visa. They must now undergo initial screening by applying for ESTA if their stay is 90 days or less. ESTA is an automated online application system that determines eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA visa waiver is checked before allowing you to board flight, use ferry service or cruise ship inbound for USA. That is not all, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers thereafter determine admissibility of travelers with ESTA upon arrival.
Every travelers, including underage children must be in possession of their own ESTA which has to be applied for prior to the day boarding flight, ferry, or ship. ESTA application is submitted online and you do not have to visit the U.S. embassy in your country. The process of applying for ESTA is automated, online, and cheap. ESTA visa waiver is therefore easier and faster to get than a U.S. visa, provided that you are going for business trip, holiday or transit visit. If you have a valid U.S. visa, then you do not need to apply for ESTA. Many people misconstrue ESTA visa waiver, it is not a physical document like the visa stamped on one of the pages in your passport. ESTA is an electronic travel authorisation which is automatically incorporated into your passport biometric information, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection only need to scan your passport to know your ESTA status.
ESTA online Application Procedure
- Ensure you are eligible as stated above. We can review your document for you to determine eligibility.
- Prepare the documents for all the travelers.
- Have your passport, valid email and means of payment ready.
- Fill the three-level application form appropriately. We can help you with anticipated responses that gives high approval rating.
- Chose desired processing time for your application, this may determine how much your processing fee will be. There is standard, rush and super rush categories which correspond to processing time of 72, 48 and 12 hours or less.
It is common among people who apply themselves to make mistake on their application. When this happen, you need to send an email to the United States Customs and Border Protection to effect these changes on your application.
ESTA Application Process
U.S. ESTA and Visa
An ESTA is not the same as visa, it is just an application portal for citizens of countries under the VWP. ESTA does not meet the legal requirements to serve as a U.S. visa. If you hold a valid visa, you can travel to the U.S. without applying for any travel authorization via ESTA for the purpose which the visa was issued.
From the start of the ESTA program, the U.S. Government allows the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection to eliminate the requirement that VWP travelers complete an I-94W before admission to the United States. This imply that travelers entering the United States with an approved ESTA under VWP does not need to fill the I-94W form, nor will a green I-94W card be placed in their passport. However, land border crossing still require I-94W form to be filled even if you hold ESTA approval.