Top 10 Things to Know About ESTA

  1. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization or, “ESTA” is a fairly new system implemented in 2009 for those who wish to travel to the US without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.
  2. ESTA is not a visa, instead it is a way for people to determine whether they are eligible to enter the US without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program. Travelers traveling on the Visa Waiver Program may only enter the US for brief business meetings or for tourism.
  3. Those who complete the ESTA form online must answer a set of questions that determine their eligibility to enter the US as a Visa Waiver Program.
  4. Prior to the ESTA program, travelers complete a green landing card on the plane.
  5. Now, people must complete an ESTA authorization form online at:https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/at least 72 hours before their flight leaves.
  6. There is a fee of $14to complete ESTA authorization. Beware! There are many imposter web sites out there which will charge you additional fees well above the $14 fee. If the site does not have .gov in the web site address, the it is not an official US government web site.
  7. Once authorized, a person may travel to the United States for two years unless their situation has seriously changed, eg the person is convicted of a serious crime. Although being authorized does not guarantee entry into the US. The Immigration Officer will question you at the port of entry and make the final determination whether you may enter the US.
  8. The most common reasons a person may be denied ESTA authorization are due to prior arrest or prior conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude or involving a controlled substance, a violation of US immigration, such as overstaying a period of authorized stay in the US or a recent US visa application denial.
  9. If a person is denied ESTA authorization they will not be allowed to board a plane to the US and will be required to apply for and receive a US visa at a US Embassy or Consulate before entering the US.
  10. If you’ve been denied ESTA authorization, there is help at hand. Call US Visa Solutions at +44 (0)20 3286 9491 to speak to Janice Flynn about what your next steps are.