What is ESTA and why do you need it?

Are you a citizen of UK and planning a visit to US? Are you familiar with terms like ‘Visa Waiver Program’ and ‘ESTA’? Well, to make your visa application easier, here is everything you need to know about ESTA and its requirements.

What is ESTA?

ESTA stands for Electronic System Travel Authorization. It basically refers to a set of scans that you will have to go through to get an entry in the US if you are a citizen of UK.

UK citizen normally do not require visa for entry in the US. This is applicable since the advent of Visa Waiver Program which exempts UK from any such visa requirements. However, the citizen of UK will have to go through ESTA application form instead.

What you must know is that ESTA is not a visa. Even though you might be authorized by ESTA, it is not always necessary that you will be granted permission to enter the US. The US immigration will still hold you for certain security checks in order to make sure whether your ESTA application is valid.

How long will it take to apply?

Understanding the whole application process is really the key. When you are applying for ESTA, make sure that you are familiar with most things, if not all. Understand the application process, and also take your time in verifying the validity of your ESTA application. You can make an online ESTA application form here.

Usually, it takes a few weeks to process an ESTA application. However, as per the official website of ESTA, you might be approved within at least 72 hours before your departure. However, in order to avoid any last minute mishaps and inconveniences, it is better to first get acquainted with the knowledge of the process.

What to do if you application is denied?

In case your ESTA application gets rejected, here is what you can do. You can still apply for B-1 visitor visa, or B-2 tourist visa, and you will not have a problem.

How to apply?

There are basically four simple steps to apply for ESTA.

  1. Firstly, you will be required to download the online application form. Next, you should fill out all the required details and submit it online.
  2. The next step is verification. The details you provide in the form will be verified.
  3. You will be assigned a file number.
  4. Finally, you will be asked for payment.

Once you are through with all the aforementioned steps, you will be sent a confirmation email. This will show the results of your application process. One of the three responses might be given to you which include, Authorization Approved, Authorization Pending, or Travel Not Authorized.

Why do you need to apply?

The main reason why US government introduced ESTA in 2009 is because of the recent hike in terrorist activities.

To ensure security of its citizens, the US government in collaboration with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) devised this system for the Visa Waiver Program so that pre-screening of the people can be done who are travelling to US by air or by sea.