Travel to the USA for the New Year
Don't forget your Esta Visa.
10:42 23 December 2020
Before you embark on a tour to the United States, you need to consider a couple of things first. For starters, you will need to ensure that you have a valid passport, enough currency in dollars and take up travel insurance. However, you will also need to fill out an ESTA form as part of your travelling checklist.
ESTA is short for Electronic System for Travel Authorization that works to establish the eligibility of a visitor from Britain to set foot in the US. It is essentially a web-based platform that utilizes a data system to do its job. It is essential to know that the success of the application isn't only dependent on ESTA. Customs and Border Control staff still have to allow you to enter the US after careful verification of your details.
Should You Always Have ESTA Authorization?
It is imperative that you travel to USA with ESTA since it is a compulsory requirement for any visitors from countries that are part of the VWP (Visa Waiver Program). The good thing about the VWP is that you are allowed up to 90 days of visit to the United States if you fit the criteria.
Britain is one of the countries within this program, and you'll have to fill out an ESTA form online. It will then have to undergo processing and approval before you are cleared to travel.
What is the Importance of ESTA?
ESTA was established by the Homeland Security Department in the United States after the September 11 terror attacks on US soil. The main idea was to vet any visitors coming into the US and filtering out the undesirable ones. This way, it was much easier to document any person entering the country to keep the country safe.
Today, around 50 million visitors from VWP countries enter the US every year. You should know that the point of ESTA is not to put restrictions on tourism or the economy. It works to limit the entry of any persons deemed to be a potential security risk to the citizens of the United States.
What is the Estimated Approval Period?
After submitting your ESTA application form online, the next step involves passing through your details against the various law enforcement records. The good news is that the process doesn't last for more than a few seconds.
In fact, almost all the applications produce results after only 4 seconds. Information from the London US embassy reveals that a whopping 99.6% of applications are approved within that time frame.
An ESTA approval maintains its validity for a maximum of two years, only if your passport is valid throughout that period. You are also allowed to enter the US for as many times as you need. That's as long as you keep up to your 90-day limit for each visit.
For those who renew their passport before the validity period is up, it is required that apply again for ESTA if you intend to travel within this time.