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USA ESTA Visa Waiver

The ESTA USA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization, a system created by the United States Government to determine eligibility status from citizens from countries in the Visa Waiver Program. The ESTA US visa is an automated program that gathers a traveler’s passport details before they travel to the US. The ESTA visa for USA was made available on January 12th, 2009. Eligible citizens should obtain an ESTA authorization in order to enter the US. To obtain an ESTA visa for the US, applicants must have a valid passport. Upon arrival at a US port of entry, the traveler should hold a valid ESTA visa waiver.

Who needs to Apply for ESTA?

Citizens from a ESTA Visa Waiver Country who wish to travel to the United States must apply for an ESTA authorization by completing the ESTA visa online form. Australia, United Kingdom, and New Zealand are among the 39 Visa Waiver countries eligible to obtain an ESTA US visa. All travelers, including those in transit through the United States, are required to have a valid ESTA visa upon arrival and to present it upon request at the border control. The ESTA USA will be valid for 2 years from its issuing date. All travelers holding an ESTA for USA can stay in the US for a maximum period of 90 consecutive days.

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Traveling to the U.S. with the ESTA Visa Waiver

The Visa Waiver Program is a U. S. Government controlled program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), allowing passport holders of 39 selected countries to enter the United States multiple times for business or tourism purposes. The length of each stay should not surpass 90 consecutive days. The great benefit of this option is that applicants may travel freely to and around the US, on a short notice, without having to apply for an American visa.

The 39 Visa Waiver countries

 

ESTA Visa Waiver Purposes

Travelers are required to obtain an ESTA visa waiver if:


Tourist ESTA

  • Tourism/leisure
  • Family/friend visits
  • Music or sports events (unpaid/voluntary)
  • Short study courses (for example, a 2-day cooking course)
  • Medical treatment


Business ESTA

  • Meetings with business partners
  • Conventions and conferences
  • Free, short-term courses
  • Negotiation of a contract
  • Does not include work placements or contracts


Transit ESTA

  • Stopping en route
  • Changing flights in the U.S.
  • Short-time stops in a U.S. airport (even for one-hour stops)
  • Layovers or stopovers of over 24 hours
  • Children and infants, too


  • The ESTA USA authorization is not a regular visa. The ESTA for USA is an electronic travel authorization to the United States.
  • The ESTA USA must be presented on trips made to the USA by plane or boat. If you travel by car it is not necessary.
  • The ESTA serves to screen a traveler and have more control over foreign visitors that come to the United States.
  • The ESTA USA is only valid for tourism, business, and medical purposes or to do a stop over to another country. Find out more info about the transit ESTA visa to USA.
  • It is strongly advised to complete the ESTA visa online application at least 72 hours before your trip. The ESTA is processed in less than 24 hours. However, in some cases, it may take longer to process, up to 72 hours.
  • If your US ESTA is denied, you will be required to apply for a B1 or B2 regular visa.
  • An individual ESTA is needed to enter in USA. Check the requirements for an ESTA family application for a family or group.
  • An approved ESTA travel authorization does not guarantee your entrance to the United States.

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