ESTA USA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization is a system that determines whether a person travelling from countries belonging to VWP (Visa Waiver Program) is safe to travel in the country of US or not. Before you apply for ESTA USA, you should have a knowledge about certain things in this process to make it less cumbersome for you. This article will help you understand these points in an FAQ format.
Why is ESTA approval necessary?
ESTA approval is the most important thing you need after passport to travel in USA. If you do not have the form with you, the officials will detain you until you get the approval. You would not want to waste your days, waiting for a form that you could have got well before you started your journey.
How is ESTA different from a Visa?
ESTA approval is very different from a Visa. ESTA is for citizens from VWP countries that travel to the country of USA. Since they do not require a Visa, ESTA approval is another way of certifying whether the visitor is fit to travel in the country or not. Even though the validity of an ESTA approval lasts for 2 years, the visitor can travel in US for not more than 90 days. Visa is a document that every citizen from countries that are not part of VWP requires to travel in US. Visa documents the purpose of your visit and for how long you are visiting the country, which decides the validity of the Visa. Travelers with a Visa do not require an ESTA USA approval.
Is there a fee involved to fill this form?
Yes, a fee is applicable for this process. When you fill out the form, you need to pay the processing fee of $4 and then an authorization fee of $10, making the total of $14 for the complete process. You need to pay the authorization fee only if you get the approval from the authorities to travel in the country. However, the processing fee is mandatory for all applicants.
Where can you apply for ESTA?
You either can apply for ESTA USA through a government office for US Customs and Border Security or can opt for an authorized online agency that can do the same for you. You pay the same fee with both parties. However, it is important that you seek help from authorized agencies that are part of the ESTA. Otherwise, they may charge you extra money as well in some cases. The benefit of seeking help from such agencies is that you do not have to make multiple visits or waste time by waiting at the offices. USA Travel Authorization Agency is such an agency that have expert consultants that will help you throughout the process and get your approval done quicker than usual.