Electronic System for Travel Authorization determines if visitors are eligible to visit the U.S. The system is applicable under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). ESTA is beneficial as it allows the person planning to travel to the U.S to determine if they are eligible or not before incurring any costs.
ESTA allows the U.S government to compare the personal details of the applicant to those in various databases to determine if there is any reason or law enforcement that makes the applicant illegible to travel to the U.S. ESTA is valid for only two years or when the passport expires.
Applying for ESTA is quick and simple. The process takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. First, the application form is filled online. After finishing filling all the required details the form is then submitted. Record the application number and pay for the application. When the application status appears instantly, view the status. Here are tips for applying for the ESTA.
- a) Need for a Lawyer
When applying for ESTA, one doesn’t need to use an immigration lawyer nor travel agents. This will only add up to more unnecessary cost considering that the process is cheap and simple. The application process is straightforward. It is quick since it only takes about 5-10 minutes. However, if the applicant has ever been cautioned, arrested or having issues on immigration it is advisable to seek for the assistance of an attorney to ensure that the questions asked are answered correctly.
- b) Completion of the Process
The ESTA application should be completed at least three days before the flight to the U.S. During the completion; the applicant should be having the following ready; the passport, the address of the place he/she will be staying at the states and the details of the flight. After completing the application of the ESTA, the application number should be written and kept in a safe easily accessible place. The applicant is not required to submit a printed application form, but it is recommended that he/she print their personal records. This will help in case it will be needed in the future to change the information.
- c) Changes
Once the ESTA is submitted, the applicant is allowed to change the address they are planning to stay in the US and email address. In case of any other changes as stipulated in the program, the applicant will need to reapply for authorization of ESTA.
- d) Renewal
In case the applicant received ESTA authorization earlier, they should renew it on time to enjoy future trips to the U.S.
- e) Disclosure of Information
It is vital for the applicant to disclose any information regarding prior arrests in any part of the world. Furthermore, the applicant must disclose any immigration issues, for instance, being denied U.S visa. Failure to disclose the information makes the applicant fraudulent. The applicant may then be denied admission to the U.S. If the applicant has ever been arrested or had immigration issues, he/she should consider being assisted by an attorney.
Having been found eligible by the ESTA system to enter the U.S is not a guarantee that the applicant will be automatically admitted to the U.S. The Customs and Border protection have the final say if they are allowed to the U.S. The CBP will determine if the applicant is inadmissible for any reasons such as alcohol and drug issues prior arrests or medical reasons. Once they pass through the CBP, they officially enter the U.S.