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ESTA for Portuguese Citizens

The US Electronic System for Travel Authorization, known as ESTA, is an electronic travel permit available for several countries, including Portugal. This online visa waiver for the United States grants Portuguese nationals entry into the country for a period of up to 90 days.

In 1999 citizens of Portugal were added to the US Visa Waiver Program, which enabled visa-free access for all nationals of the 39 countries in the list. In 2009, ESTA was established, and Portuguese visitors have been required to obtain it ever since.

Travelers of Portugal should note that the ESTA was also implemented for security reasons. The pre-screening of foreign passengers is of great assistance in addressing any terroristic threats and enhancing border control and safety for both American citizens and Portuguese passengers.

US ESTA Requirements from Portugal

There is an important set of US ESTA visa waiver requirements that Portuguese citizens need to meet before their trip to the US.

There are mainly two points to consider:

  • Submitting the ESTA application at least 72 hours prior to their departure to the US to avoid issues or processing delays
  • Having a machine-readable passport with an electronic chip. The Portuguese passport is linked to the visa waiver, therefore, this is a prerequisite that fastens the application process and border control on arrival

Also, Portuguese ESTA holders are advised to keep a digital or a printed copy of the US visa waiver to avoid any inconveniences when entering the country.

US ESTA for Portugal: permitted stay, validity, and use

In addition to the entry requirements listed above, Portuguese nationals need to consider a few other details and visa waiver restrictions when using the US ESTA.

First, the US ESTA visa waiver is a multiple-entry permit valid for a total period of up to 2 years.

Second, the maximum permitted stay in the US for Portuguese citizens using an ESTA is 90 days each time.

Third, the US visa waiver can only be used for the following reasons:

  • Business
  • Tourism and leisure
  • Health and medical endeavors

It is important to be aware of the consequences that Portuguese ESTA holders might face if they overstay their permitted time in the US. Failing to leave the country in time may result in rejection of future applications or permanent ban from the United States.

How to Apply for ESTA as Portuguese Traveler

Obtaining the US ESTA as a Portuguese citizen is very easy: travelers only have to complete a US visa waiver application form, which contains a number of questions related to personal information and passport details.

Portugal passport holders also need to answer some basic security and safety questions. Then, they will have to complete the payment of the ESTA application fee.

Requests are usually handled within 24 hours, therefore, Portuguese applicants can expect to receive their visa waiver documents after a matter of hours in their email accounts.

It is important to note that the application has to be completed with the exact data appearing on the Portuguese passport. Any mistakes or incorrect information may result in the visa waiver being denied.

Hence, Portuguese applicants should always review their application form before submission. Even though the approval rate of the ESTA application is high, some can be rejected.

Should Portuguese nationals get a new ESTA when their passport expires?

The answer is yes. The ESTA visa waiver is connected to the Portuguese passport of use. This is the reason why personal and passport information is necessary to fill whilst applying.

Once the US visa waiver is granted, the Portuguese bearer cannot transfer their details to another account because the documents (the passport and the ESTA Waiver) are digitally linked.

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the validity period of the ESTA is two years. Thus, citizens of Portugal will need a new ESTA when this validity period of 2 years runs out or when their passport expires.

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