Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What is the real objective of ESTA visa?

The US government has Visa Waiver Program for countries that meet its security standards for international travelers. Presently 38 countries are included into the VWP and travelers from these countries enjoy immunity from regular visa for short visits to the US.

Travelers from VWP countries use ESTA application to get visa for short trips. It is quick and free of any hassle as the travelers skip the thorough screening that is cumbersome and frustrating. ESTA is Electronic System for Travel Authorization and it is an online process of getting permission to visit US. Authorization is provided for 90 days and it is valid for two years from the date of issuance or till expiry of passport whichever comes earlier.

There are many misconceptions regarding the electronic visa. Some travelers take the authorization process to be permission to enter the US territory but they are wrong as the electronic system is only a prescreening process. It removes need of thorough screening but it doesn’t mean that the traveler will be allowed to enter the US without going through formal security check. The officials of US Department of Homeland Security can stop anyone from entering into the US, if suspect intention or character of the traveler.


 USA ESTA application is available online on US government website and it can be submitted with a fee of $14. The fee is charged under Travel Promotion Act. Travelers can also find the ESTA form on third-party sites but there they will have to pay more than $14 as the third-party sites charge travelers for service. But never mind paying more as a third-party site will serve you comprehensive information on the electronic visa form.

First thing you should know about electronic visa is the right time to apply for the visa. Though you can apply for electronic authorization before one hour of travel but it is advised that you apply for the visa at least 72 hours before travel. Electronic authorization can be obtained within an hour but it is better to get authorization in advance. In case, your electronic visa application is declined, you will get some time to arrange regular visa.

Care has to be taken while entering details in the ESTA application online. Every detail has to be clear and legible and the most important thing is avoiding cutting and overwriting. You should know what is asked and what to enter. Read the guidelines for application carefully and fill the form with complete peace of mind. Once your application is rejected, you won’t be provided a second chance to apply.

Objective of electronic visa is to make travel a hassle free affair and it is possible only when the travelers follow the procedure. Electronic visa is made available for all the travelers from VWP countries. And it has been mandatory for travelers going on short trips to US. Obtaining electronic visa isn’t a difficult job as the application is easily available on the web and only general information is asked for prescreening of travelers.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What VWP travelers need knowing about ESTA visa?

US government started Visa Waiver Program to make traveling to US a hassle free affair but only for short visits of up to 90 days. It included some countries in the program and the selection of countries was made according to US security guidelines. Today travelers from VWP participating countries enjoy traveling to US with ESTA visa.

Why electronic permission is called a visa when it is only permission? Visa is the general word and also the permission is also like a visa. When you get permission to visit the US, you say that you have got a visa. But electronic authorization is different from the regular visa in technical terms. A regular visa could be for a long time like one year but the electronic authorization is valid only for 90 days.

Obtaining electronic authorization is easier than getting a regular visa. For ESTA visa online, travelers only need filling an online form and submitting it to the US government along with a fee of $14. The travelers also take advantage of third party sites that are also authorized to take ESTA applications from the travelers. But these sites levy a service charge to the visa fee. If you are comfortable in filling the form on a government website then you should save money while filing your ESTA application.

You need some education on electronic authorization before you start filling your application form. You can’t apply for electronic permission before 72 hours but you shouldn’t wait to get permission. Apply as soon as you start preparing for the travel. Chances are that your application will be reviewed and permission granted within an hour but the Department of Homeland Security that deals with ESTA can turn down your application without giving any reason.
ESTA visa application can be rejected if any of the information provided is found to be wrong or ambiguous. It is for this reason that applicants are advised to remain cautious while applying for electronic permission to enter the US territory. The permission is valid for two years but stands cancel, in case the traveler gets a new passport or changes his name or the government change eligibility for electronic application.

If you are traveling to US for one month and you are from a country included in the VWP then you have an opportunity to take the shortcut to US that is through electronic permission. Visit a government website and file your application for ESTA along with the fee that is $14 or you can take help of a third-party site that could provide real help in filling the application. But these sites charge an additional fee for their services.

Whether you fill your ESTA application through a US government website or you take help of a third-party site, you have to very clear and straightforward with your ESTA. There should be no mistake in entering details in the application and the application should be filed well before your traveling schedule that is 72 hours before your flight. 

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