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.
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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.
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