It is important to apply for ESTA in sufficient time before you plan to travel to the United States. Applications are generally processed very quickly, but may take a little longer in certain cases.
The ESTA visa for the USA is an automated travel authorization system for nationals of the 39 countries under the Visa Waiver Program.
Eligible travelers frequently ask how much time in advance should you submit your application to obtain the ESTA and how long it takes to process an application.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) advises international visitors to apply as soon as they know the date of their trip to the United States. Having a valid ESTA upon arrival is essential to enter the US.
It should be noted that most applicants will receive a response almost immediately, as long as all eligibility requirements are met. However, despite the fact that the majority of applications are processed within minutes, travelers are strongly advised against making a last-minute application.
The standard timeframe between submitting an ESTA application and the scheduled flight should be at least 72 hours. Within this period most applicants will know whether or not they received an ESTA approval.
In rare cases, the application status may be pending longer, which means CBP is carrying out further investigation. It is advisable to wait a couple of hours before seeking a status confirmation.
As a rule, the sooner the ESTA is obtained, the better. It is a good idea to apply at the same time as making flights and accommodation reservations.
Travelers who are booking last-minute trips and need to obtain an ESTA rapidly can do so.
Most applications are processed and approved within minutes, but there are cases in which an application needs further investigation.
The vast majority of applications are processed within 72 hours of submitting the online form. For this reason, travelers are strongly advised to apply a minimum of 72 hours before their flight.
Applying for an ESTA is a fairly simple process that takes a few minutes to complete. To obtain an ESTA, international travelers will need to provide their personal details and their passport info.
There is also a series of security questions that must be answered.
In order to obtain the ESTA and travel to the United States, citizens of countries in the Visa Waiver Program should have a valid passport in order to enter the country.
Once approved, the ESTA is valid for a period of 2 consecutive years and for multiple entries. An ESTA grants its holder a stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Travelers who have previously obtained an ESTA within the past 2 years will find that it is most likely still valid.
Bear in mind that the ESTA can be used for leisure purposes, business, and transit.
Before traveling, you should always check entry requirements and the validity of your passport.