Traveling On An ESTA Visa

Traveling brings with it many stresses as well as enjoyments. This is especially true when you are traveling to other countries. One of the most stressful parts of traveling abroad is all of the paperwork. It is necessary to have some type of visa when traveling and staying outside of your home country. Many countries have very strict rules and regulations about entering the country, how long you can stay, reasons you can enter, procedures for leaving, and much more. In the case of traveling to the United States of America, there are many rules and regulations. For example, everyone must have a visa to enter the country. There are several different types of visa, each with its own specific purpose. An example is a student visa with which a person receives a temporary visa to be the country for the purpose of attending a college or university. Another example is a work visa. With this type of visa, a person has the ability to enter and remain in the country so long as they are employed in a specified position. There is also a political visa designed for dignitaries. There is another type of visa that many people still do not know about, this is an ESTA visa. Comparatively speaking, this is a fairly new program, that has undergone a few changes in the last few years. Here, you will find a variety of information to help you obtain an ESTA visa to travel where and when you need to travel.

The first thing you need to do is determine whether or not you are eligible for an ESTA. ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. In most things, the phrase “what is in a name” crops up regularly; however, with this the name truly says it all. This is literally a system designed to let travelers gain approval to enter and stay in the US under the visa waiver program. The first step to determining if you are eligible to apply for an ESTA is to determine if you will be using the visa waiver program or a traditional visa. If you are not familiar with the visa waiver program it is a program designed to allow travelers to enter and remain in the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. This program allows travel for the purpose of tourism, transit, or business. Keep in mind that there are only certain countries that are eligible for the visa waiver program, so after determining if your reason for travel and length of trip meets the requirements of the visa waiver program, you must determine if you live in an eligible country.

Here are the countries that are eligible for the visa waiver program and subsequently an ESTA.

  • Monaco
  • Hungary
  • New Zealand
  • Italy
  • Taiwan
  • Latvia
  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Luxembourg
  • Ireland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • Liechtenstein
  • San Marino
  • Sweden
  • Andorra
  • Greece
  • Japan
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • Iceland
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Czech Republic
  • Bruni
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Belgium
  • Chile
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia
  • *(England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales)

You can find more information on the ESTA website

Once you have determined that you are a resident of one of the approved countries, will be in the country no more than the allotted 90 days, and are traveling for one of the approved reasons, it is time to being the application process. The beauty of the ESTA is that, as the name implies, everything is handled through electronic means. You will fill out and file the application online through the ESTA website. The progress of the application can be tracked through the account that is set up during the application process. You will also receive the decision through electronic means. Before beginning to fill out the application, you will need to gather some information. This includes personal identification items such as a passport. You will need to input specific information from it. You will also need to know when you are planning to enter the country, how long you intend to stay, and what method you plan on using to travel (e.g. an airplane, boat, etc.). This application is like most, there will be a section for basic information such as name, date of birth, gender, age, eye color, height, and weight. Then there will be a section on your travel details. You will also need to provide passport information. If you plan on doing a lot of overseas traveling, consider getting a digital passport which stores all of your information in a digital format. Another section will ask about any criminal implication. You will be asked about arrests, charges, and several other legal aspects.

Once you have submitted your application, all you have to do is wait. It is best to get this taken care of well before your trip, but remember, if you are running late on starting this process, it is a requirement that the application must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to departure. The whole point of the ESTA is to allow time for a   to be preapproved before they depart from their home country. This is so that, if there is a problem, you will not have to make the trip only to be turned around. Keep in mind, that once you arrive, the border guards will have the final say on your entry, but the likelihood of a different decision from the ESTA is entirely unlikely.

If you are approved, you will be notified via email and you will receive an approval letter that you will give the professional from the mode of transportation you choose. If you do not receive a response within a normal time frame, you can check its status at any time through the ESTA website. All you have to do is sign in with the credentials you set during the initial filing process. If you are denied an ESTA, there are a few options. Depending on the reason you were denied, you can apply again, apply for a regular visa instead, you can contest the decision, or you can alter your plans.

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