If you want to travel to the US, you’ll have to get your Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) visa prior to boarding on your flight. Here are a few things you need to know about this visa and about the application process.
You don’t need to have a specific travel plan to apply for your ESTA visa. DHS even recommends that you submit your ESTA application as early as possible, in order to avoid any problems. Nevertheless, you can submit your application and receive your approval within 24 hours before your flight.
In case your ESTA application is denied, you’ll need to apply for a regular visa. This is why you should ensure you have enough time to do it. Besides, you have to keep in mind that not all countries are part of this program. You should check whether your country is on the list before submitting your application. If it isn’t, there’s no way for you to apply for your ESTA. You’ll need to apply for another type of visa instead.
Each ESTA visa is valid for two years. It allows for multiple entries, so you won’t need to reapply during this entire period unless your passport expires. Also, this visa allows you to stay in the country up to 90 days. Overstaying this period will attract a three-year ban from entering the US again.
The application process is straightforward and it only requires that you have an internet connection. The ESTA application isn’t free of charge, You’ll need to pay the $14 fee by credit card. Should you get rejected, you’ll only have to pay $4 for your application. Once you get your approval, check with your airline whether you need to carry a print copy with you on board. Different airlines have different rules in regard to this matter.