If you want to travel to the USA, you need a visa. It is no longer necessary to apply for a US visa at the US embassy. The visa requirement was implemented in 2007 to tighten the country’s security. Various countries fall under the Visa Waiver Program. Countries that participate in this program do not need to apply for a visa but can apply for an online travel permit. This is called an ESTA.

About ESTA

ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and means that the traveler is asking for online permission to travel to the country. ESTA express application can only be applied online, as it is an electronic permit. To apply, a valid passport is required. 

Travelers headed for the USA, therefore, need a valid passport. During the application, the ESTA is then linked to the passport number. It is crucial to carefully write down this information when applying for the ESTA and closely check it.

When to apply for an ESTA?

The processing time for an ESTA express application can take up to 72 hours. That is why it is necessary to apply for this electronic travel permit on time. Applying for an ESTA about four to five weeks in advance is recommended. If the electronic travel permit is rejected, you will have plenty of time to apply for a US visa at the embassy.

For an ESTA application, passport information, information of an emergency contact person, and a debit card are required. It is also possible to submit a group application for an entire family. The advantage of a group application is that there is no need to pay per person, but a one-time payment – for all applications together – is sufficient.

ESTA is a permit, not a right

It is important to remember that ESTA grants permission to travel to the USA. That is something different from permission to enter the country. This means that travelers traveling under the Visa Waiver Program can still be denied entry to the USA. This can happen after inspection by US customs.

It is necessary to apply for the travel permit in advance. Otherwise, airlines cannot take the passenger along. Therefore, it is essential to possess an ESTA before traveling to the airport. This will be asked for when boarding.

Validity of ESTA 

An ESTA grants the right to stay in the USA for 90 days. Unless the passport expires earlier, an ESTA is valid for two years. It is possible to use the ESTA multiple times. A new ESTA needs to be applied for if the passport expires earlier or if changes in the traveler’s status occur. For example, when losing citizenship, a conviction, contagious disease, or sex change.

Apply for an ESTA USA now

Applying for an ESTA express application is very simple. This is possible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The application takes about five minutes. Paying can be done through Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and PayPal.

Forgot to submit an ESTA application? Apply for an urgent ESTA travel permit. This can be done by checking the urgent delivery box on the application form. Generally, an urgent application is approved within seventeen minutes. After approval, you receive an e-mail message. It is not necessary to print this confirmation and take it along. It is recommended to apply for an ESTA on time. It is not required to have arranged for a place to stay or a contact person in the USA.