The authorization process was put into place to make journey safe and secure for citizens from countries participating in Visa Waiver Program. These countries fulfill the necessary security standards for US tourists. But the objective of E-S-T-A is to filter travelers from those who don’t meet the standard security standards and need a thorough examination before they are allowed to enter into the US territories. Presently there are only 38 countries participating in VWP. And tourists from these countries need not taking regular travel permit for traveling to US for short trips not extending to 90 days.
The Official ESTA form is available on US government website and it is submitted with a nominal fee of $14. The tourists have to enter the information on their own and the information provided must be accurate. The form must be free from errors like typos as errors can make the information difficult to understand.
Tourists are advised to applying for electronic-authorisation at least 72 hours before their journey. But application can also be sent before one hour of travel. Obtaining authorization in advance secures journey. In case, the authorisation is declined, the tourists can take the regular-visa route to get permission to enter into the US. But if the permission is declined at last moment then the travelers will have no way left to get regular travel permit. There should be no hassle in applying 72 hours before journey. Those who are ready to travel to US should apply for electronic authorisation in advance.
Every year millions of tourists from VWP countries come to US for personal and business work and they remain in the US for a short duration. But they have to go through the lengthy process of regular travel permit. The E-S-T-A is aimed at making US travel a hassle free affair for those tourists that can be exempted from taking regular-visa and going through thorough screening for security.
E-S-T-A is valid for two years from the date of issue or expiry of the passport whichever arrives first.But there are other factors as well that determine validity of electronic authorization. The visa stands cancelled, in case the user gets a new passport or changes his name. To understand the validity clause, you must understand the real objective of authorisation. It is prescreening of travelers hence any change in the number of passport or name of the traveler won’t help in screening. Travelers holding electronic authorization can make multiple visits to US until the validity of visa.
Electronic System for Travel Authorization is only for short journeys and not for working or staying in the US. Travelers must be clear on the objective and validity of the visa before they make any plan for US journey. It is a service extended for travelers from VWP countries.
It must be clear to all traveling with E-S-T-A that it is not the permission they are looking for. It isn’t a regular-visa but only authorization certificate that authorizes travelers to go to US but the final decision of allowing an ESTA holder into the US territories lies with the Department of Homeland Security. The US security officials examine the authorization and all other security aspects before allowing a traveler to enter into the US territory. But permission denied, if the officials find the traveler of dubious character.
It is a prescreening process that helps the officials of Department of Homeland Security to determine reliability of travelers. When a traveler applies for E-S-T-A, he/she is screened for his/her name, passport number and the background check. The US has access to details of every traveler from VWP countries. The US officials can access information related to travelers and establish their reliability within an hour. It is for this reason that electronic travel authorization is issued within hours of submitting application for registration. But some applications are rejected for want of information.
Rejection of E-S-T-A application doesn’t mean end of road for travelers. But it is a suggestion that they should take the regular-visa route to US. The regular process is lengthy but suitable for longer stays. It is limited to short travels. There should be no doubt about E-S-T-A before you start filling your application.Visa Waiver Countries
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Malta, Monaco, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom