Is ESTA a visa or not?
The ESTA Authorization is not a visa and therefore does not grant access to the USA. It is an electronic entry authorization that allows the person to board the flight to the US. ESTA can be acquired only by the citizens of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) eligible countries as they do not require a visa to travel to the U.S. Instead, they can now apply for their ESTA Authorization. Some of the advantages of the ESTA document:
- Obtaining a travel permit without having to visit the consular offices of the USA;
- The ESTA Authorization allows you multiple visits to the USA during its validity, usually of 2 years;
- The ESTA Authorization allows a maximum stay of 90 days per visit.
Why choosing ESTA instead of a tourist visa:
- You can apply for your ESTA Authorization from anywhere. All you need is a computer and a reliable internet connection;
- We will send you your approved ESTA Authorization to your personal email;
- No more printed documents needed;
- No need to queue in front of nor to set meetings at the Embassy;
- We offer a 24/7 customers support service reachable via the contact form of the website or via email.
How many days in advance ESTA should be applied?
If you have decided to travel to the USA for 90 days or less and you are a citizen of one of the 38 countries that are approved under the Visa Waiver Program then you can apply for the ESTA Authorization. There are no specific rules related to how many days in advance you can apply. However, we highly recommend our clients to apply a month prior their trip to the USA. The reason for this – although more than 90% of the ESTA Applications are approved, there are some that are denied. By applying 30 days before your trip, you will be able, in case not authorized to travel under the VWP, to apply for a regular visa at the Embassy or the nearest Consulate and obtain a tourist visa.
ESTA applications are accepted 24 hours, 365 days in a year and although the feedback is very quick, yet at times due to some technical or security issues, it might take longer than expected and therefore, it is recommended to apply at least a month before your travel to the USA.
How long does it take for the approval of the ESTA application?
ESTA applications are accepted 24 hours and 365 days. Usually the approved ESTA authorization is sent between one and 36 hours.
What are the charges for ESTA application?
The cost of processing an ESTA Authorization includes 2 fees. 14$ fee is paid to use the online immigration portal system while 60$is the cost of service.
What is the refund policy?
In case an ESTA Authorization has been denied and a client has been not authorized to travel under the VWP, we issue a 100% refund in the next 7 working days.
What is the validity period of ESTA?
The ESTA is valid for 2 years or till the expiry date of the applicant, whichever comes first.
How many times can you visit the US during the 2-years period of the ESTA validity?
You can enter and leave the US several times. But you must check the validity of your ESTA and your passport before traveling.
Is ESTA also required for transit passengers?
An authorization is required for all transit passengers to the USA. It can be a visa, or an ESTA Authorization.
How can I check the status of the application?
If you can’t find your approved ESTA document and you are not sure when it is expiring, please contact our customer service department via the contact form or email. After getting in touch with us, we will send you back a copy of your ESTA Authorization.
Can the information on the ESTA document be updated or edited?
Only the following data can be updated and changed:
- Your email address
- Your US address (optional)
The data that is optional to update is as follows:
- Your US contact person
- Change in the residential address
- Change in the details of the employer
When is it required to apply for the new ESTA?
The new ESTA application will be required in the following cases:
- If you have changed your passport
- If you have changed your names due to marriage or any other reason.
- If your passport has expired.
- If you have reported your passport as lost or stolen.
- If your citizenship has changed.
- If you have a new additional citizenship now.
- If you change your gender.
When to choose a visa instead of an ESTA:
- If you have answered one or more of the application’s eligibility question positively.
- If there is a criminal record against you.
- If, in less than 10 years you have been denies an ESTA or visa to the USA.
- If you have been travelling to one of the following countries after February 2011: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Soudan, Syria, or Yemen.
Due to what reasons can my ESTA application be rejected?
Please find below some of the reasons one’s application can be denied:
- If you have over-stayed on your previous visit.
- If you worked in the U.S. without valid permit.
- If you have made an ESTA request less than 10 years ago, and you have been not authorized to travel under the WVP.
- If upon the time of checking, the US authorities found out false or wrong information in the application.
- If you provided the data from the passport that you had reported lost or stolen.
- If you have a second citizenship from, or if you have visited any of the following countries after February 2011: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
- If you have traveled to the US in what is considered as unusual intervals by CBP.
What is to be done if the application is rejected?
You must be aware of the fact that the ESTA Authorization allows you only to board your flight to US. As the ESTA Authorization is not a visa, it does not ensure one’s visit to the U.S. Sometimes even with an approved ESTA, one can be denied entry to the U.S. by the border protection officer. If your application is rejected, you can contact CBP for personal appointment. You can also apply for regular visa.
Which countries are approved under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?
The countries listed in the Visa Waiver Program are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.