ESTA is the abbreviation for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This authorization involves an online-application which is a replacement to the cumbersome tourist visa processes along with a far more basic process for any passport holders that fall under the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) countries. In previous years a USA Visa application was a requirement before entering the U.S. and the closest US Embassy would need to be visited. Today visa applications are now known as the as ESTA USA application for passport holders in the VWP countries and can be accessed easily online from anywhere in the world.
How To Apply For Authorization For Travel To The U.S. Under The Visa Waiver Program
• Complete the ESTA USA application
Once you have logged into the ESTA website complete the application by providing the necessary information. This will include credit-card information, travel arrangements and 7 security questions. This application will need to be submitted for each person that is traveling with you that do not have visas and this includes minors.
• Submit The ESTA Application
The ESTA website offers you with the chance to check and review your information before you submit the application. You should always double-check all your information to ensure everything is accurate.
• Pay The ESTA Application Fee
You need to authorize the payment of $4.00 USD which is the processing fee. You will then be charged another $10 USD when the application has been approved.
• Receive Your Status Determination
In most cases you will be provided with an ESTA status determination within as little as a minute. However, in some cases additional time is required in order to process the application. If this is the case you may have to wait up to 72 hours for your status determination.
Here are the 3 application statuses you can receive:
• Authorization Approved
The system offers confirmation of the approval with a receipt that you can keep for your records. Keep in mind that an ESTA authorization is not an admission guarantee into the USA, you will still undergo inspection by Customs and Border Protection officers as you disembark to decide on your eligibility to enter the US according to the law and regulations.
• Travel Not Authorized
This means you have not been authorized to make use of the VWP to travel to the US. Your next step in this case is to contact the Department of State of the US Embassy in order to make plans to obtain a visa.
• Authorization Pending
If the status comes up as “Pending”, it means your travel authorization has been sent for further review. In this case you can expect a response within 72 hours and the application can be denied or authorized.