Valuable Tips for VWP Nationals Regarding ESTA

Electronic System for Travel Authorization is an automated process designed for determining visitor’s eligibility to travel to the US under VWP [Visa Waiver Program]. The VWP enables citizens from participant countries to visit the US without need for obtaining standard visa. If they fulfill certain requirements then they can stay in the US for three months with an aim to perform business or tourism.

VWP travelers need to prove their eligibility prior they board flight bound to the US. Therefore, they need to apply for travel authorization via ESTA. The ESTA program compares applicant’s personal data against different databases to determine whether the VWP candidate is ineligible to visit the US due to security reason or law enforcement.

ESTA visa is valid for successive two years. If the applicant’s passport expires then he/she gets an approval for the time period till the passport’s expiry date. The actual permitted stay for ESTA approval on the US land, on VWP basis is just ninety days.

Valuable tips for foreign nationals regarding ESTA

Use official ESTA website
Since 2009, ESTA travel authorization has become mandatory for VWP travelers to enter the US. Online application process is easy. It takes ten minutes to fill application form and get an approval. In 2010, the US government started to charge fees that fueled many worldwide websites [claiming to be official ESTA] to rip ESTA applicants by charging them ten times more and stealing their sensitive information.

There is just a single website and any other website ending with .esta, .com, .org, etc. is unofficial. Every official websites of the US ends with .gov.

No need for immigration lawyer
For ESTA approval there is no requirement for hiring an immigration lawyer. It is an unnecessary expense. Application through the official ESTA website is straightforward and you just need $14 to pay. However, those VWP citizens, who have experienced immigration problems or have been cautioned or arrested will need the help of immigration lawyer, so as to ensure they answer the interrogations correctly.

Keep record of application printout
ESTA application needs to be completed 72 hours prior you board the flight to the US. When you are about to fill the ESTA application form, make sure to keep passport, flight details, and address you will stay in the US handy. Keep note of the application number. There is no need to carry printout of application form, while traveling to the US but it is good for record. Printout is necessary, when you need to change information like address where you will stay in the US or update email address.

When ESTA reapplication is needed
An ESTA approved visa has limitations for updates. Only the applicants email address and their accommodation address in the US can be updated. In case of any other changes the foreign nationals will need to reapply for ESTA. It includes get new passport or travel to specific countries or denial of visa. ESTA visa is legal for just two succeeding years or till your passport expires, therefore make sure to renew it on time for extra trips to the United States in future.

Bear in mind that ESTA does not mean you get guaranteed entrance within the US. It is determined by the CBP or Custom & Border Protection officers, when travelers arrive in the US. Even with ESTA, the VWP traveler has to pass through CBP for arriving legally in the US.