ESTA for Citizens of Poland: Traveling to the USA Visa-Free

ESTA for Citizens of Poland

  • Language: Polski
  • Country: Poland
  • ESTA Required: Yes

Before making any plans to go to the US, all citizens of Poland must first obtain a travel permit, either a visa or an easier alternative - an ESTA.

But not all qualify for ESTA, so read on to find out what it is, how to acquire it and if you even qualify for it!

1. CAN CITIZENS OF POLAND TRAVEL VISA-FREE TO THE USA?

Yes, but not all and not all year round. Let us explain!

Previously, citizens of Poland usually had to go through the long and difficult process of getting their visitor’s visa in order to travel to the US, however, nowadays, it’s a matter of filling out an online form to obtain your travel permit.

In theory, if you’re a citizen of Poland you automatically qualify for applying for an ESTA travel authorization with which you could travel to the United States from Poland.

But there may be situations when you will not be eligible for the relatively easy obtainable travel permit that is the ESTA.

For example, if you’ll be staying in the US for more than 90 (ninety) days, you cannot apply for an ESTA, you will have to go through the process of getting a visa.

It’s important to not confuse a visa with an ESTA travel authorization. They are not the same thing!

Keep reading to find out the details.

2. ESTA VS VISA: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that ESTA is not a Visa or any form of a Visa.

ESTA, short for Electronic System for Travel Authorization, is a new form of travel authorization that is only available to a specific number of countries and their citizens.

ESTA applies and can be used by only those countries that are included in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Currently, there are 39 countries in the Visa Waiver Program, however, it is advised to check the approved countries in the program as there always may be changes – some may be added, some may be removed.

So with that comes the first condition to applying for an ESTA – you must be a citizen of a country that is included in the VWP.

However, that alone won’t mean you can travel to the USA with an ESTA, you must meet other criteria to be approved for your ESTA, which include:

  • Your purpose of travel is for tourism, business (not seeking employment), and/or transit.
  • Your visit to the USA does not exceed 90 days.

If your purpose of travel or its duration does not meet the above criteria, you will need to apply for a Visa even if you are a VWP-approved country’s citizen.

3. IS POLAND INCLUDED IN THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAM?

Yes, good news, as of November 11, 2019, Poland is included in the Visa Waiver Program. Which means citizens of Poland can apply for an ESTA and enjoy Visa-free travel to the USA.

As mentioned previously, it is up to each individual traveler to check beforehand if his/her country is still in the VWP list or perhaps even removed.

VISITING THE USA FROM POLAND?


Before planning your trip to the US, apply for an ESTA for citizens of Poland!

Apply for USA ESTA Today

4. HOW LONG IS AN ESTA VALID FOR?

Even with this, there isn’t a straight answer.

That’s because you need to keep in mind two dates when you’ll obtain your approved ESTA travel authorization.

The first date to keep in mind is that, on its own, your ESTA is valid for 2 years from the day it has been approved.

Within this time period, you may travel to the US numerous times, provided that each stay in the States is 90 days or less. If you abuse the 90-day rule, there’s a very high chance you will either get a denial for your ESTA application or you will not be granted entry in the USA once at the U.S. customs.

Also, although you may travel into the USA as many times as you’d please (with each visit up to 90 days), we highly advise you do not test the limit of the number of times you can enter the country in one year.

If you travel in and out of the country too frequently, customs officers may see it as you abusing the terms of ESTA. Meaning, you stay in the USA more than in your own country, which would be fine if you had the correct visa.

The second date to keep in mind, in regards to your ESTA validity, is also your passport validity.

It’s self-evident that you need a valid passport from a country that is included in the Visa Waiver Program in order to apply for an ESTA or get approved for it.

But what you should look at closer is the expiration date of your passport with which you apply for your ESTA.

The expiration date of your passport must exceed your stay in the USA. Meaning, if you’re leaving on January 1st and staying for 90 days in the USA (your departure date will be March 30th) your passport must be valid at the minimum until that date. However, we advise at least 6 months more after the departure date, as you never know if there may be an emergency and you would need to prolong your stay in the USA.

Also, it is important to remember that if your passport’s expiration date comes prior to the expiration date of your approved ESTA (2 years), this ESTA expires alongside your passport.

After that, you can apply for a new ESTA using the online application form.

Whenever you would like to check the validity of your ESTA, fill out this simple ESTA validity check form online.

5. WHEN TO APPLY FOR YOUR ESTA?

Even though filling out an ESTA application doesn’t take a lot of your time and the answer to whether it is approved or denied also comes quickly, we highly advise you to fill it out at the minimum 72 hours prior to boarding your plane.

You can never predict the verdict of your ESTA (approved or denied). There may be simple mistakes as spelling errors but there may be more serious problems. One possibility may be a background check showing some doubtable past activities. That could get your ESTA denied, and you would need to go through the process of obtaining a visa.

So, we highly encourage you to apply for your ESTA timely to avoid unnecessary stress. It is better to be early than too late.