Who Needs ESTA?
All citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries who enter the U.S. by air or sea are required to receive the ESTA approval including infants if they have not received a visa for travelling to the U.S.
An ESTA is not the same as a Visa and there are different requirements for each type of travel authorisations. Therefore it is important to precisely define your travel plans before submitting the application for ESTA or obtaining a Visa.
An ESTA is a relatively new type of travel authorisation. However, it has gained significant popularity among travellers from the VWP countries. This is because submitting an ESTA is easier than obtaining a Visa and all of the process is done online.
If you are a citizen of one of the countries included in the Visa Waiver Program and you plan on traveling to the United States under the regulations of VWP, you do not need to obtain a Visa. Instead, you need to apply for an ESTA.
When traveling to the USA under the regulations of VWP, you have to:
- Travel to the US for a period no longer than 90 days.
- The purpose of the visit has to be for travel, business or transit.
- You have to enter America by air or sea.
In all other situations, you will still have to obtain a Visa even if you are a citizen of one of the Visa Waiver Program countries.
It is important to keep in mind that once your ESTA application has been accepted it is valid for two years. You can use your ESTA to travel to the USA several times over the two year period, however each visit shall not be longer than 90 days.
What is more an ESTA is not a 100% guarantee for your entry into the USA! There are more factors that affect your travel plans and the United States border control will make the final decision.
This is exactly why it is important to learn more about traveling to the USA and how this is effected by the Visa Waiver Program regulations. You can learn more about all of this in our blog section or under the frequently asked questions section.
It is important to note that in most cases, citizens of the Visa Waiver Program countries, without criminal history shall have no problems with obtaining an ESTA. This also means that in most cases you will be able to enter the USA without having problems with the US border control.