What to Remember When Applying for an ESTA
If you are planning a trip to the US, you cannot simply board a flight and expect to be able to clear customs, that will just not happen. The US government has designated certain countries to be part of their VWP or Visa Waiver programme, meaning that citizens from these countries can travel to the US without the need to apply for a Visa (you can check online to see if your country is a part of this programme).
If you are eligible to travel under the VWP programme, you must complete an ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorisation application - you can learn more about applying at Evisumservice. It was following the terrorist attacks 9/11 that the US government introduced the ESTA. Millions of people visit the US each year and the US government decided at that point that they had to increase security and make checks on those who were visiting the country and so the ESTA process was developed. The process was developed to be easy on the traveller and it is therefore not an onerous process to have to go through and the application should be made online. The information provided allows checks to be made against the applicant and in most cases, clearance will be granted and the applicant will be issued with documentation. If as a result of the checks, you are turned down or don’t meet the criteria, you are then free to complete an application for a Visa, either way you will be informed of the outcome, usually very quickly.
The process requires that you allow 72 hours from start to finish but in reality, checks are made much more quickly,. There will be occasions when further checks are required to be made and if you are held up in this process, your application will be delayed and will take longer to be processed.The advice therefore would be to complete your application as soon as you know that you are planning to travel to the US, your passport must be valid in order to complete the process. If you are unsure of when you may be travelling or you're likely to be making last minute plans, it would be a good idea to complete the application process anyway. An ESTA is valid for multiple trips and is valid for a period of 2 years as long as your passport remains valid for the duration. If you obtain a new passport or update any of the information on your current passport, you must apply for another ESTA.
The US are extremely strict with their border control and you will not be able to enter the US without the correct documentation. If you are required to have an ESTA and you do not, you will be turned away and denied entry. The good news however is that you may still be able to apply, even at the last minute, as very often you are able to get a very quick response to your application which would then allow you to complete your journey.
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