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ESTA for Chilean Citizens

The ESTA, or visa waiver to the USA, is an active program created in 2009 and managed by the Department of Homeland Security of the US that permits a group of countries, no more than 40, to ask for an electronic travel authorization to enter to the US because of tourism, business, and transit flights, known as the ESTA in transit. Asking the ESTA is an online process available for Chilean citizens.

What Is the ESTA for Chileans?

The ESTA has some differences compared to en embassy visa, or tourist visa for the US. Chilean applicants, intending to travel to the US, can apply for an ESTA using an online form directly from their homes, without having to take appointments or visit the embassy of the US in Chile before their trip.

Before starting the visa waiver program, every country had to go to the US consulate in their homeland, asking for the forms for obtaining a visa, bringing documents, pictures, and other bureaucratic documents. Applying for an ESTA does require only the passport details.

The ESTA is valid for 2 years. During this time, Chilean travelers can enter the US the times they want, and they can remain up to 3 months traveling the country. The ESTA is required when arriving by plane or cruise. It has to be printed and showed at the moment Chileans cross the border controls, together with the passport.

There is no state limits with the ESTA. Chilean citizens can visit all the states of the USA, including Hawaii.

As the ESTA is connected with the biometric passports, the travel authorization expires when the 2 years have passed, or when the applicant’s passport is not valid or it has changed.

How Can Citizens of Chile Apply for ESTA?

The application for getting the ESTA is online, being necessary to have an email address and a credit or debit card to pay the ESTA fee.

Chilean applicants must start the application choosing if they want a single ESTA or a group ESTA. The second one option is thought for families or groups traveling together. It permits to have all the members’ documents in one, which avoids the necessity of printing every single ESTA. Then, the ESTA online form requires an email registration and applicants should follow the steps.

During the online process, there are some questions regarding personal data and security. We recommend to double check all the answers provided, as a mistake provokes the visa rejection.

It is not necessary to update any document or picture. In case a document is necessary, it can be asked after the ESTA requirement and it will be noticed via email to the applicant. After having answered all the questions in the form, the ESTA fee must be paid. Once the payment is completed, the visa waiver requirement is sent to the US Department, which approves or rejects the application.

If there is an ESTA rejection, it is notified to the applicant by an email. It is important to check the email inbox or spam while waiting the ESTA.

The US ESTA is sent in PDF and it has to be printed. It can not be downloaded on the smartphone or tablet.

ESTA Requirements for Chilean Nationals

Chilean requirements for obtaining an ESTA concern the security of the US society. Chileans that have been in Iraq, Iran, Sudan, or Syria after March, 1 2011 are not allowed to ask for an ESTA.

Chilean nationals who carry criminal records, or have been reported from the USA previously, can not ask for an ESTA, neither.

In that cases, they would have to ask to the USA embassies about other travel documents. Those travelers arriving in the USA with criminal reports must be informed about extra documentation requirements.

It is not necessary to bring medical reports if applicants have not contagious diseases, but we recommend to take a travel insurance that adds medical assistance, due to the private Health Care of the USA.

The passport must be valid at least 6 months before arriving. Having a passport with other expiration date can be a reason of rejection or the passport holder can not be allowed to enter in the USA, even if he or she has the ESTA.

ESTA Processing Times for Chileans

The ESTA approval takes no more than one day, even if sometimes can have more delayed dates. The ESTA is normally asked at the departure airport, when doing the check-in, so it is important to have issued the ESTA in advance to the trip. In order to check the ESTA status after having completed the application, the communication will be only by email.

The US ESTA is active by the moment the applicants have received it.

If the ESTA is going to expire before entering the USA, applicants must ask for another ESTA. If it expires once Chilean nationals have entered the country, it is not necessary to ask for the renewal.

ESTA US Visa Waiver Benefits for Chileans

The ESTA benefits for the eligible countries, as Chile, are:

  • not to wait more than one week to receive the ESTA
  • not to bring or present more documents than the passport
  • not to update digital ID pictures

The ESTA brings the opportunity to have a two year permission to enter the US without asking again for the visa waiver.

As all the process is online, if applicants loose their ESTA, it can be printed again, without having to ask for a copy.

To have an ESTA makes the border control queue faster comparing with other visa controls.

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