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What is an USA ESTA visa?

The USA ESTA visa is an electronic initiation program under the VWP (Visa Waiver Program). The new Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) system will determine your eligibility to enter the United States without a hard copy of your Visa. This step was taken after the U.S legislation decided they needed a system in place that will be able to ensure the security of the VWP.

1. Who are the people who need to get a USA ESTA visa?

Every traveler, traveling under the Visa Waiver Program is required to acquire this authorization from ESTA before setting off for the U.S. You have the option of applying online on their official website. It accepts visitors from all the allowed countries to wander the lands of United States for business or just pleasure for 90 days or less without the need of having a visa.

2. Why is this required?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) felt it was time to upgrade the security protocols regarding the VWP. Hence, ESTA was introduced keeping this in mind. This program adds an additional layer of security to allow DHS agents to verify the details of an individual’s travel schedule. They can easily intercept or intervene if a threat is posed to national security in any regards.

3. Is re-application necessary?

Yes, you will need to re-apply for the visa everytime:

  • You have been issued a new passport.
  • You change your name.
  • You change your gender.
  • You change your country of citizenship.
  • The circumstances pertaining to a “yes” or “no” question has changed for you.

4. How far in advance do I need to prepare?

While the DHS accommodates last minute and emergency travel plans, it is recommended that you apply for the visa as soon as the travel plans are made. However, there are no specific indications as to a time frame in which you can apply for this visa. You can apply at your convenience and the DHS only asks that you submit it as soon as possible for them to process it properly.

There are various other details regarding the US ESTA visa that is not covered in this article. You can easily find the details of obtaining the authorization from their official site. The application is responded with either an ‘approved’ status, a ‘pending’ status, or a ‘denied’ status based on your application and previous criminal history. The authorization is valid for two years or your passport expiry date whichever comes first.

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