Why Apply for ESTA
Esta is an electronic system used to for authorization of travelling in the United States for the British people and other international travellers who wish to visit the US under the VISA Waiver Program. To apply for an ESTA authorization you need to be a British citizen or an eligible national of a country member of the Visa Waiver Program. You need also to not have a visitor’s visa for the United States, your travel has to be no more than 90 days and your travelling in the US to be for business or pleasure.
You can apply for an ESTA authorization for just one person or for a group of applicants. ESTA is an electronic system and it take just a few seconds to receive an answer because is automated and there is no need for human approval. It is recommended to apply for at least 72 hours before travelling to the United States, but you can do it earlier if you want. ESTA is not a VISA and if you already have a valid VISA to travel in the United States, then there is no need to apply for ESTA. An approved ESTA will not guarantee you the admission to the United States, as well as it doesn’t an approved VISA.
What you need to Apply for ESTA
When you want to apply for ESTA you will need a valid British passport or a valid passport from a country member of the Visa Waiver Program, you will need also a valid credit card such as VISA, Mastercard, Discover or American express to pay for the ESTA application; you can also pay with PayPal if you have an account with them. You will need also to provide your contact information such as name and address and also your last employment information if this is available. The contact details are necessary to see if your travel poses a law enforcement or security risk.
ESTA Application Fees
When you apply for ESTA authorization you will have to pay a processing fee required by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 of the United States and it has two parts:
– a processing charge of $4.00
– an authorization charge of $10.00 if your application is approved and you will receive the right to travel to the US under the VISA Waiver Program;
The fee of$10.00 is charged only when the authorization for your travel is approved, if denied you will be charged only the processing charge of $4.00.
How to Apply for ESTA
Step 1 – Enter the main ESTA website
To apply for this authorization you need first to visit the ESTA website and start the application. You will see there as you can see in the picture above two buttons, the New Application button and the Check existing application. Click the New Application button and you will be taken down below on the page to the Apply for a new ESTA section. You will see there another two buttons, the Individual Application and Group of applications as you can see in the picture below.
Step 2 – Start the ESTA Application
On this step of your ESTA application you have two choices: click the Individual Application or the Group of Application button, depending on what you need to apply for. If you are applying only for yourself, click Individual Application. When you click the Individual Application a popup window will open and you are informed that you will access a secure page of Department of Homeland Security and that there is no expectation of privacy taking in consideration you will need to provide personal details such name and address. If you accept the terms, just click Confirm & Continue button.
On the next page you will see a Disclaimer and The Travel Promotion Act of 2009. Read them carefully and click Yes if you have read and understand the terms or No if you can’t accept the terms. If you click No, another popup window will open with further clarification regarding the terms and conditions. When you click Yes, you are able to click the Next button and you will be take to the next page where you will have to enter the Applicant information.
Step 3 – Enter ESTA Application Information
On this page you will have to fill the Applicant information; first you need to enter the passport information such as:
If you are known by any other names or aliases, please enter them here. You need to enter then the personal details:
-Date of Birth of the applicant
-City of Birth
-Country of Birth
-Country of Citizenship
-Personal Identification Number
-National Identification Number
There is also a Social Media section which is optional and Employment information where you have to enter the:
When everything is filled, please click the Next button and you will be taken to the next step.
Step 4 – Enter your Travel information
On this section please fill the city of departure before arriving in the United States, also the airline you will be travelling with, flight number or the vessel name if you come from the sea, the address where you will be staying while in the US and if you will stay in multiple location, enter the first one; you need also the city where you will be staying in the United States and also the itineraries that you will be taking on your trip.
Step 5 – Answer the Eligibility Questions
On this page you need to provide information about your health; if you have a transmissible disease such as HIV, Syphilis infectious stage, Leprosy, Tuberculosis active, Granuloma inguinale, Chancroid or any Mental health and Physical disorders. If you don’t have any of these diseases, tick the No and go further; tick no also if you are not a drug addict or drug abuse. If you have been arrested or convicted for an offence relating to a controlled substance you need to write that on the application. If you are or you have been involved in espionage or sabotage you need also to write it down. Fill also the field where you need to answer if you have been detained, withheld or retained custody of a child from a United States citizen. If you have been denied for a US Visa in the past you should also tell them or if your VISA has been canceled.
Step 6 – Review ESTA Application
On this step you need to verify if all the filled information is correct and if not you have to modify it.
Step 7 – Pay the ESTA Processing Fee
Prepare a credit card to pay for the Processing Fee and also for the ESTA Authorization if your application is accepted.
ESTA Group Application
If you need to start an application for a group, please click the Group Application instead of Individual Application. When you apply for a group up to a maximum of 50 persons you will pay in a single payment. First you need to enter the Group Contact Person details and then details for each individual. Follow the steps on the ESTA website presented in this article for the individual application and you should do just fine.
When your application is approved you can travel multiple times to the US in the two years period of time or until your passport will expire. There is a possibility of your ESTA authorization to be revoked at any time for different reasons. If the ESTA is about to expire and you are still in the US, this will not affect your travel. Even if ESTA is valid for two years, you can not stay more than 90 days in the US, for a longer period you need to apply for a VISA.
ESTA Application Overview
To apply online for ESTA is not a difficult thing to do, you just need to fill your information like name and address, your last employment details and if you are a honest citizen you shouldn’t have any problems in getting your application approved. You need to know though that if your application is approved, this will not guarantee your entrance in the United States of America.