Guest post by Josh Hobson and Sophie Jones from the University of Liverpool
Planning on travelling to the United States usually consists of several obligatory measures:
- Where in the United States you would like to visit;
- How long you’re going to visit for;
- Which airline you’re going to fly with;
- How much money will you need for the trip;
- and unfortunately obtaining a visa.
Most of the above planning process is unavoidable. Obviously booking flights, saving money and picking a destination are kind of necessary or you won’t be going anywhere. Fortunately, the whole visa process may no longer be required if you’re simply hoping for a holiday or a business meeting in the US.
Introducing the ESTA
Okay, so you’ve seen the word ESTA twice in this article already, so you’re probably curious? Basically, the ESTA was created to enhance security and allow for quicker entry into the United States for residents of 38 countries.
The application is completed online and takes 10 minutes to complete. Once applied, the application should be granted within minutes, although in rare cases may take upto 72 hours for a reply. With the ESTA, gone are the days of laborious trips to the embassy in order to apply for a visa.
The real beauty of the ESTA resource is:
- The cost is substantially lower than a Visa, at just $14;
- The application takes 10 minutes to complete;
- The resource is valid for two whole years;
- This resource allows you to travel to the United States as many times as you would like in that time frame;
- You can stay in the country for up to 90 days per visit.
Important Information to Consider
If your ESTA application is approved, this does not 100% guarantee that you will be allowed into the country. The immigration officers at the airport have the final say on who enters the country. Issues like this may include proof of departure or proof of sufficient funds for your stay.
Please note, you must have an electronic passport in order to apply for the ESTA, failure to have one means you cannot apply. If your application is rejected, you will have to apply for a conventional Visa.
For more information, including tips and FAQs on the ESTA, please see this infographic below or visit estaform.org.