ESTA: Electronic System Of Travel Authorization
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It can be simply defined as an automated system that decides the eligibility of the travelers that are visiting the United States. However, the authorities can not determine the admissibility of a traveler visiting the States on the basis of ESTA application. It can only be determined upon the arrival of the person by the United States customs and border protection officers.
The purpose of your ESTA application is only to collect the basic biographic information about the traveler and it also answers the Visa Waiver Program eligibility questions. Though you can submit your application of Electronic System of Travel and Authorization at any time before your travel to the United States but it is recommended that you do it as soon as possible right after you plan your trip. A minimum time of 72 hours is recommended.
To apply for ESTA application you must be eligible under certain criteria that are required. The ESTA application will only be valid if you are a citizen of the United States or at least a part of any Visa Waiver program country. The visitor should not be in possession of a visitor’s visa. You can only go for ESTA if your travel is of 90 days or even less but not more than that.
In order to apply for your Electronic System for Travel Authorization system, a person must have a valid passport from a visa waiver program country. The application will cost you $14 so you must have a valid credit card or PayPal to pay for the application fees.
The form will ask you for your contact information and also the information about your recent employment.
After applying for ESTA you must check the status of your ESTA application frequently to make sure that everything is right. Then you must review the application and update the unpaid applications or the approved ones. You must remember to submit the payment of your application within 7 days of applying for ESTA. Keep in mind to check the payment receipt to ensure that your payment has been submitted successfully.
The purpose of the introduction of ESTA in the international travel security system is the protection of the borders of the United States. It will help the authorities strengthen the security of travel of the United States under the Visa waiver program. The travelers that belong to the countries that are a part of the visa waiver program will be eligible for applying for ESTA and they will have to apply for it prior to their departure.
ESTA is not a visa, you will still need a visa to travel USA even if you have ESTA. ESTA has been in action since the year 2009, January 12th. Once approved the ESTA application will remain valid for two years or until the validity of your passport expires.