ESTA USA: Basic Information
If you're planning to travel to the USA, you've probably come in contact with the terms ESTA at some point in your preparations. ESTA is an acronym for "Electronic System for Travel Authorization," a system developed by the American government to pre-screen potential travelers to the United States. In other words, ESTA is the American equivalent of an electronic visa (also known as eVisa). ESTAs have been offered since 2009 for travelers from countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Having an ESTA doesn't mean you have unlimited privileges within the USA - if you want to get a job, attend a university, or participate in other long-term activities, you'll still have to apply for a normal Embassy visa. However, ESTA does make it much easier for tourists, business travelers, and those transiting through the USA, because such travelers no longer have to visit an Embassy for their visa. Instead, an ESTA application can be made online through the Evisa Express website, and the results are delivered by email within three business days.
The fee for an ESTA to the USA is 49 euro.
Types of ESTA's
There is only one type of ESTA.
The United States offers a one-size-fits-all ESTA that covers tourism, business, and transit.
The characteristics of ESTA are as follows:
Multi-purpose - is meant for tourists, business travelers, and those who wish to transit through the USA on their way somewhere else.
Multi-entry - is valid for 2 years starting from the date of approval, during which you may enter and exit the USA as many times as you wish.
Flexible - each time you enter the USA, you may stay for up to 90 days in a row.
List of eligible countries
ESTA USA is mandatory for citizens from member countries of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), listed below:
- Czech Republic
- Korea, South
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
If you are a citizen of one of the countries above, and you are planning to enter the United States for tourism, business, or through the USA on your way somewhere else, then you are highly encouraged to apply for an ESTA.
ESTA for the United States of America: application form
To find the ESTA application form, head to our application panel on the left-hand side of this webpage. Choose the purpose of stay that best represents your trip. Finally, simply click "Apply online" to be taken to the ESTA form. You'll be asked for your identifying details, such as your passport number and email address, as well as some basic information about your trip.
After you fill out and submit your ESTA application online, an automated message is sent directly to your email address containing your personalized application number. The typical processing time for an ESTA application is 3 business days or less (the average time at Evisa Express is 24 hours).
While filling out your application, please remember:
- ESTA applications must be made online at least 3 days (72 hours) before your planned departure.
- Important - passport validity! In order to apply for your ESTA visa, your passport must be valid at the time of your departure to the USA.
- There will be directions and guidelines distributed throughout the application form. Please take a moment to read and understand each one.
- Make sure to supply your correct email address on your ESTA application.
- Our role at Evisa Express is to facilitate the submission of applications to the US government through our website. The final approval of applications, as well as processing times, ultimately rests with the government of the United States of America. Our services as an agency do not include the ability to influence the US government in regards to the time it takes to process an application or make an authorization.
- The application fee is 49 euros.
ESTA validity period
Once your application has been given approval by the US government, your ESTA travel authorization becomes valid immediately and remains valid for the next 2 years.
During that time, ESTA visa holders have the right of multiple entry: entering and exiting the USA freely.
The biggest benefit of an approved ESTA is how long you can stay within the US during each visit. While other countries offer stay lengths of only 14 or 30 days, an ESTA visa to US allows you to stay within the country for up to 90 days in a row. Since ESTA USA is multiple entry, you can exit and re-enter the USA in order to spend another 90-day period as soon as your previous one is finished. You can makes as many visits as you like during the 2-year validity period.
Online application processing time takes up to 3 working days.
Transit visa information
Some travelers are not looking for an extended visit to the USA, but simply need to travel through the country on their way somewhere else. This is called "transiting." Please note that transiting requires an ESTA, just like tourism and business travel. In other words, even if you don't intend to leave the airport terminal before boarding your transfer flight, you still must apply for an ESTA visa.
ESTA for transit is the same document issued for tourism and business, and like every other ESTA visa, it is only issued to citizens of countries that are covered by the Visa Waiver. Travellers from other nations must visit a US Embassy for the correct visa.
Requirements on arrival
A traveler carrying an approved ESTA must present a valid passport when they enter the United States. A photocopy or photo will not be enough - you will be asked to show the physical document for inspection.
On the other hand, though you will receive a copy of your ESTA itself through your email, there is no need for you to print it out. It will have been automatically linked to your passport at the moment of approval. Customs officials will be able to see your ESTA in digital form while examining your passport.
- You must apply for your ESTA visa at least 3 business days before your trip! Processing times can take up to 72 hours. If you land in the USA without a valid ESTA visa, you will not be permitted to enter the country;
- Every passport holder must submit a separate application. One ESTA does not cover multiple travelers!
- ESTA does not entitle the bearer to get a job with an American company! It enables a traveler who is already employed overseas to conduct business activities within the USA on behalf of their company. If you wish to get a job in the USA, you will need to contact your nearest US Embassy for the appropriate visa;
- The validity of an American ESTA starts from the date of issue;
- If your passport expires, so goes your ESTA! Your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your stay in the USA. However, to take full advantage of the 2-year validity period, your passport must also be valid for two years from your application date. If your passport expires or is changed in any way during the validity period, your ESTA is rendered invalid and you will have to apply for a new one.
Benefits of Evisa Express
- Easy application process
- Qualified team of experts
- Guarantee of service
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is USA ESTA?
"ESTA" means Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It is the US version of an e-visa or eTA. These Electronic visas have replaced traditional Embassy visas for travelers to and from many countries across the world. In the case of ESTA, all tourists, business travelers, and transiters from countries participating in the Visa Waiver are encouraged to apply. See our "List of eligible countries," above, for information on which countries are eligible. The ESTA application can be completed online through the Evisa Express website. Applications are processed in 3 business days or less, and your approved travel authorization is sent directly to your email.
- How long is an ESTA valid for?
It is valid for 2 years, starting from the date of approval. Holders of a valid ESTA can have multiple entries and exits to the USA during that time. Please note, though, that an ESTA visa is only valid for as long as the bearer's passport is valid. If the passport number changes or expires during the ESTA validity period, the traveller has to apply for a new ESTA online.
- Do I need an ESTA to travel to the USA?
There are a few requirements to be aware of before filling out an ESTA application. In order to determine whether you need it to travel to the USA, simply answer the following questions:
- Am I a citizen from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)? (Check the "List of eligible countries," above.)
- Is the purpose of my travel primarily one of the following: tourism, business, or transit?
If the answer to both of these questions is "yes," then you do need an ESTA to travel to the USA!
- How much does a US ESTA cost?
The fee is 49 euro.
- Can I fly to US without an ESTA?
Do not attempt to fly to the U.S. without the correct travel authorisation! For tourists from countries in the Visa Waiver Program, an ESTA is a mandatory requirement to enter the USA. If you arrive at your airport of departure without your travel authorization, you will likely not be allowed to board the plane. Fortunately, you can apply for an ESTA online through the website of our agency, Evisa Express. The application process is quick and authorization often comes within 24 hours; however, it is recommended that applicants submit ESTA form at least 3 business days before their travel to the United States.
- Which countries need ESTA USA?
All countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) need ESTA USA.
- Do I need to print ESTA?
When your ESTA application has been approved, you will receive a PDF of your travel authorization in your email. However, you do not need to print it out. It will be linked to your passport number digitally starting at the moment your application is approved.
- How many times can you travel to the US on an ESTA?
The US Electronic System for Travel Authorization is a multiple-entry e-visa that is valid for 2 years. That means a traveller can make as many visits as they like during the 2-year validity period. However, each of these visits to the US must be 90 days or less.
- What happens if you overstay on ESTA?
Please do not overstay your ESTA! Even a single day past the validity expiration date or stay limit of 90 days can result in severe consequences. You may be detained by immigration authorities. Violators may also face a 5-to-10-year ban from future travel to the USA.
- What happens if an ESTA is refused?
It is very rare that applications made online through the Evisa Express website are denied. The application success rate for our service is 98%. This is because we check each application carefully for details like proper passport validity, citizenship, purpose of trip, etc, before submitting it to the US government. When you make your application through the Evisa Express website, your chance of receiving your travel authorisation is high.
We must remind you, though, that all decisions about entry to the US are made by the US immigration authorities. Even if a traveler has successfully completed an application and been granted an ESTA, there is a small chance that they will not be allowed into the U.S. Unfortuantely, Evisa Express services are not able to influence the US government in such decisions. However, this situation is exceedingly rare.
- Do UK citizens need ESTA for USA?
Yes. All UK citizens traveling to the US for tourism, business, or transit need ESTA.
- Do I need ESTA if I have a Green Card?
No. If you have a valid Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) you do not need ESTA.
- How does ESTA work at airport?
ESTA is automatically linked to your passport as soon as your ESTA application is approved. You receive a PDF of the visa in your email, but you don't need to print it out. Border officials will be able to see it automatically when they scan your passport.
- What is the difference between an ESTA and a visa?
An ESTA is a travel authorization for travelers who are exempt from the visa requirement. So ESTA is reserved for citizens of certain nations (see "List of eligible countries," above,) and certain purposes of travel (tourism, short-term business, and transit.) Visas for other nations, as well as citizens from eligible nations who wish to pursue longer-term activities in the US like employment or schooling, are also available from US Embassies. The visa application can be made online through our service, Evisa Express.
Three easy steps to get your ESTA
- Apply online
- Fill out remaining required information and make an online payment
- Check your email