Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system used for prescreening of visa applicants. Objective of this system is to strengthen internal security while making permit regulations easier for travelers. The system is directly related to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that allows citizens from selected countries to travel to US without a formal permit.
ESTA visa USA is electronic clearance provided to visitors from countries participating in the VWP program. But this permit isn’t without restrictions and it isn’t for everyone. US government is committed to making travel easy and convenient but at the same time it is concerned about the internal security of the country. The electronic clearance directly helps in strengthening the internal security.
US immigration authorities receive thousands of visa applications and it becomes very difficult to screen every application in due time. Here electronic clearance helps. Visitors visiting US for short time that is up to 90 days are allowed to get permit approval online. It is necessary to mention that the US has record of every traveler and visa applications are approved only when they match with the information available in the database.
Travelers apply for USA ESTA visa online by filling application on US government website. The applications are scanned within an hour but the actual time depends on the workload. The applicants are advised to apply for the visa at least 72 hours before the travel. And they should keep all the documents pertaining to travel close by while filling the application.
Only general information related to traveler and travel is asked. But no cutting is allowed on the form and also the applicants have to make sure that the information provided is legible. A slight mistake could be a cause for rejection and the applicants don’t get second chance to apply for the visa, if their applications are rejected.
Electronic clearance is not visa approval as the travelers have to pass the physical screening test at the entry points. The US immigration authorities have the power to cancel electronic clearance, if they find anything suspicious but this power is selectively used in special cases where the travelers are unable to show authentic travel documents like passport.
The ESTA application can only be sent online and only from US government website. But there is no restriction in using a third-party site for accessing the online visa form. The application form should be properly filled by the applicant. Earlier the screening process was free but now a meager sum of $14 is charged for the service. The fee has to be paid by the applicant.
Travel permit is allowed for a period of 90 days and if the traveler wishes to stay beyond the stipulated time period then the traveler needs applying for formal permit through the embassy. The electronic clearance is valid for two years from the date of issuance or expiry of passport whichever comes before. Also the visa stands cancel, in case the applicant gets a new passport or changes name.
A traveler with electronic clearance can enter US territory from different entry points for an number of times but the traveler will need getting new clearance after expiry of present ESTA. Travelers from VWP countries have the privilege of getting electronic clearance while others have to take the regular visa route.
The first thing you should know about ESTA visa form is that it is available only on US government website but you can take help of a third-party site to access the form. There is nothing to worry about using a third-party site as the site will only make filling the application convenience for you. But the site will levy a service charge. You will pay the form fee and the service charge.
The site will help in filling the form in right manner. It will prevent you from making errors. You can enter details in the form without any worries as the site will allow you making corrections, if needed. The site will enter the details in the real form only when you are satisfied that the information provided is correct.
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