Eligibility of visitors who wish to travel to the United States under the VWP(visa waiver program) is made possible using ESTA Visa. Citizens applying for the VWP(traveling only by land) however does not determine if authorization to the United States will be granted. For those having a valid Visa, the need to apply for an ESTA visa is eliminated. If one is traveling with a minor under the age of 18 years, an independent ESTA visa approval will be needed for a period not exceeding 90 days.
Application process for an ESTA Visa
The process to apply for US ESTA is fast and easy. However, to be able to be granted admission into the United States from one of the VWP countries, close attention should be placed on the citizenship information to achieve a successful application. Still, there are some requirements needed to make it successful.
There are only a handful of countries that offer the Visa Waiver Program for all applicants seeking an ESTA visa. Permanent residents from such countries are usually not eligible as the only passport holding citizens are approved, as by the waiver program regulations. The United States ESTA program website occasionally updates all eligible countries.
Validity of programs
To be eligible one not only has to have a valid passport but the passport should be valid for more than 6 months, to be considered valid.
Applying for an ESTA Visa is straightforward as one needs to give personal information such as:
- Both Names
- Aliases normally used
- Personal contact information
- History of admission to the USA
- Birth city
- Parents names
- National Identification Number
- Criminal convictions if any
- History of communicable diseases
- Credit card information (for processing fee)
An ESTA fee of $4 is usually applicable per every application for the VWP made as a processing charge through one’s credit card. An additional $14 is charged for all successful applicants which are a requirement as under the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. However it is good to note that third-party fees are usually applicable in a number of processes, depending on the method one uses to apply. Such charges are usually not refundable.
All in all, approval when one is looking to apply for an ESTA visa is done by the US government after 72 hours. In this case, it is wise to wait for approval before making travel plans, as a rejection can happen. With the use of a company, some get same day approval straight in their email addresses. An ESTA visa is usually valid for up to 2 years.