Understanding process and objective of ESTA visa
ESTA is electronic permission to travel to US and it is only for countries participating in VWP. Also the permission is granted only for short trips.
There are many misconceptions regarding ESTA visa. Many travelers take the travel authorization process as permission to enter the US but little do they know that it is an electronic system of authorization and not the visa. It is permission for travelers from 38 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program.
VWP is a specially developed visa program for the countries that meet the standard security requirement for entering into the US. Travelers from these countries can visit US under VWP but only for 90 days. It is quick permission granted for short stays for vacations, business and family union and the permission can’t be extended beyond the said period. If the visitor intends to stay for longer time then he has to apply for a regular visa.
ESTA visa is great service for travelers who want to go to US for short trips. They get freedom from the lengthy process of visa application. They don’t require visa for short 90 days visit and what is more exciting is that they can get the permission online in a hassle free manner. They only need filling an online form to get permission. It is called ESTA application and it is available on US government websites at a meager fee of $14.
It is a simple online form that contains biometric information regarding the traveler. Travel authorization is valid for two years from date of issue but new ESTA permission has to be taken if a new passport is issued or the traveler makes any changes in his name or contact details. Also the travelers are asked to file new applications, if any question in the ESTA eligibility is changed. In most of the cases, permission is granted within an hour but it is better to take permission in advance.
Travelers can Apply ESTA visa online 72 hours before their travel but it is learnt that most travelers take this suggestion lightly. What they do is they wait for the last minute approval and regret their mistake when approval isn’t granted. Applying for ESTA is quite easy as the application form is available on government website. And also there are third party sites that provide quick access to the ESTA application at a very small service charge.
Everyone from VWP participating country traveling to US for short time needs taking ESTA permission but the final permission to enter the US is granted by Department of Homeland Security that verifies electronic permission. Also caution must be taken while applying for ESTA. The entries made in the form must be clear and legible. Any wrong entry could result in turning down of application.
There should be no misconception regarding ESTA. It is a electronic travel authorization system developed to help travelers from VWP participating countries.Traveling to US is made hassle free with ESTA. But the visit must be for short time that is 90 days and if the traveler wants to stay for long time then he should take a regular visa.
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