The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) is an online application system developed by the United States Government to strengthen border security for visitors arriving by air or sea to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The ESTA USA is not the same as a visa, as it can be completed entirely online and has fewer requirements than a standard visa. ESTA USA is an essential entry requirement for anyone who does not have a valid visa and intends to visit the United States from a visa waiver country, such as the United Kingdom.
Introduced in January 2009, the ESTA visa USA allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Applications must be approved before visitors depart their home country. Anyone intending to travel to the United States by air or sea under the Visa Waiver Program needs to pre-apply for an ESTA or they will not be permitted to board a flight or commercial vessel to the USA. All applicants should, therefore, apply at least 72 hours before their planned departure to the United States. The online system differs from a visa as it is a travel authorisation and therefore has fewer requirements. Applications use an online portal to obtain approval to travel to the United States, and applicants must have a valid machine-readable passport.
It takes most people 5-10 minutes to complete an ESTA online application form. Shortly after submission, you will receive confirmation of receipt of your application. ESTA approval or refusal is normally sent within 72 hours, or less. If your application is denied, you may need to apply for an alternative U.S. visitor visa such as a B-1 business visa or a B-2 tourism visa.
Anyone who wants to enter or transit through the United States by air or sea under the VWP is required to hold an approved ESTA. Each traveller must submit an ESTA application, and this includes all dependants, minors under the age of 18, and babies.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a U.S. government programme that allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for up to 90 days without having to apply for a visa. It was designed to encourage tourism by making it easier for passport holders from VWP countries to travel to the United States.
The United Kingdom is one of the 38 countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program, which makes it easier for UK passport holders to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. The ESTA application process is faster than a standard visa application process and normally takes about 10 minutes to complete online. Response is within 72 hours compared to a standard visa application, which could take weeks or months to finalise.
Currently, the following countries are part of the Visa Waiver Program:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).
Anyone who wants to enter or transit through the United States by air or sea under the VWP is required to hold an approved ESTA.Apply for ESTA VISA
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