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US Travel: How You Can Visit the USA with an ESTA?

US Travel: How You Can Visit the USA with an ESTA?
usa travel how to apply for esta
Written by editor

For any non-US citizens who have travel plans to visit the USA, they are required to obtain the relevant type of travel authorization. Citizens of certain countries are visa exempt and are able to apply for the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), providing they meet the requirements.

The requirements include that the purpose of the trip is for business, tourism, transit or medical reasons and that the stay in the US is for no longer than 90 days in total. This means that citizens of the countries that are listed under the visa waiver program are able to holiday in any area of the US with an ESTA. It is also possible for non-US citizens to visit the US for business meetings and conferences using the ESTA for travel authorization.

How to apply for ESTA?

Applying for the ESTA is faster and easier than applying for a visa. The ESTA is an online application form that can be completed in around 20 minutes. The other huge benefit of using ESTA instead of applying for a visa is that you do not have to attend an appointment at the US Embassy, the whole application is completed digitally using the online US ESTA application form.

Applications are also much faster to get processed, so rather than taking weeks or even months for a visa application, appointment and issue of a visa, once the online ESTA has been submitted, it will usually be just a few hours to receive a response.

However, it is recommended that people apply for their ESTA at least 72 hours before they are due to depart for the US, so that enough time is allowed for the processing of the application. Previously, the processing was described as being instant but they have moved away from that expectation, so travelers must apply for their ESTA early enough to avoid disrupting their US travel plans.

Once an ESTA is approved, the applicant receives an email to confirm the approval and the ESTA is electronically linked to the applicant’s passport. The ESTA then remains valid for two years, or until the passport expires, whichever date is the soonest.

Use ESTA for multiple visits to US

Another key benefit of applying for an ESTA is that whilst it remains valid, the holder is able to use it for multiple trips to the US. So, for example, they could go on holiday to New York and then a few months later visit LA using the same ESTA. The ESTA can also be used for both business and tourism, so an ESTA holder could attend a work related business conference in Silicon Valley and within the validity of the ESTA, later use the same one for a family trip to Disneyland in Florida.

If the passport expires, a new ESTA must be applied for to provide authorization for travel to the US in the future and it is not possible to switch the ESTA from an expired passport to a new one. Traveling to the US for tourism or business is now much easier for citizens from visa waiver countries who can use the ESTA.

US Travel: How You Can Visit the USA with an ESTA?

For any non-US citizens who have travel plans to visit the USA, they are required to obtain the relevant type of travel authorization. Citizens of certain countries are visa exempt and are able to apply for the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), providing they meet the requirements.

The requirements include that the purpose of the trip is for business, tourism, transit or medical reasons and that the stay in the US is for no longer than 90 days in total. This means that citizens of the countries that are listed under the visa waiver program are able to holiday in any area of the US with an ESTA. It is also possible for non-US citizens to visit the US for business meetings and conferences using the ESTA for travel authorization.