Do I Need an ESTA For A USA Visit?

The United States is one of the countries that we’re dreaming of going to; aside from the sceneries from each state, we are also looking for opportunities to work there. If you’re planning to travel and wander around or even stay in the US, there are a few things that you need to consider.

Before you can enter the States, you need to have an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) first. On the other hand, there are exceptions. Depending on your country of origin, it can be determined if you need a valid visa or a travel authorization to enter the US.

What is USA ESTA?

Department of Homeland Security of United States is responsible for handling the visa application. Before going to the US, the government is strict in screening all the travelers that want to go to the country. Due to arising boundary conflicts, they are getting stricter as the year passes by. However, it is not difficult to get a visa if you have all the necessary documents. Getting a travel authorization is less expensive than obtaining a valid permit.

Since July 12, 2009, everybody, if not, the majority of the people who can enter States are required to apply for USA Visa. No matter what the purpose of your travel to the US, you are obliged to file a visa. Whether you are going for a vacation, personal issues, or business reasons, you need to apply for a visa.

It is not a valid visa. Instead, it is only an authorization that is negotiated by the government in the countries, as decided by the laws. Moreover, if you have a valid visa aside from travel authorization, you will not need to apply for an ESTA anymore. Check the lists of countries if you are eligible to apply for Electronic System for Travel Authorization; if not, then you can get a valid visa before you can go to the United States.

Who can apply for ESTA Visa?

Application for USA ESTA depends on the eligibility of the travelers. For example, you are a permanent resident of Canada, you do not need to apply for the authorization, but you must have a valid Canadian passport.

There are countries under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). You can check your eligibility in the list of countries included in the VWP. Some countries on the list are:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

There are other countries not on the list, but you can always check references out. Rules are applied depending on the laws enforced by your country’s government. If you are a resident of the countries included in the list, you can enter the States without a visa. However, if you are traveling by air or sea, you will need a travel authorization.

Additionally, those who traveled in places such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, or Somalia, U.S. government will not allow you to acquire a travel authorization, so you will need a valid visa to travel to USA.

What is a Visa Waiver Program?

Under the Visa Waiver Program, the residents of the abovementioned countries can enter USA without a valid visa if they have the travel authorization. ESTA Visa will be valid for 90 days, as per the program.

Countries included in the list provided by the U.S. government are those with high Human Development Index or countries that are doing good in their economy. According to VWP, only developed countries can enter States without a valid visa, but an authorization should be processed.

VWP is a program by the Department of Homeland Security.  They are the ones consulted regarding the eligibility. According to them, you can also go to other U.S. territories without a visa if your country is under their list.

Validity of ESTA

If you are planning to go in places such as Canada, Bermuda, Mexico, or Islands of Caribbean, your authorization is still valid provided that your point of entrance is the United States. Upon issuance, you can use your authorization for at most two years.

Given the following circumstances, you are required to obtain a new authorization:

  • Name change
  • Issuance of new passport
  • Gender change
  • Citizenship change

Before You Go

Take note of your plans before securing a visa to enter the United States. If you want a hassle-free transaction, you can always check out a website that will help in your application. You can pay the processing fee which is required for visa applicants and extra charges, and they will straightforwardly assist you in obtaining a visa quickly.

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