If you intend to visit the U.S., no matter if you are flying or arriving by sea, there are some things you need to know. So many beautiful areas, so many different activities, there is just so much to do. No wonder it is a favorite vacation destination for a lot of people.
To get to the United States, you usually need to have a visa, unless you are a citizen of a country under the Visa Waiver Program or VWP. This program allows certain foreign nationals to enter the U.S. without having to file for a B-1 visa. It is excellent for people making quick trips for commercial and professional events such as conferences, contract negotiations, vacation, and anything else that takes up to maximum 90 days. With this program, you don’t need a visa, but you must apply for the ESTA, or the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, before visiting the United States. It is fantastic because you can avoid a lengthy process of acquiring a visa. Make sure to apply at least 72 hours before your departure date. But first, you need to check if your country is a part of it.
Participants of the Visa Waiver Program
There are currently 35 countries whose citizens are eligible to apply for the ESTA. Australia, Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Slovakia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. It is up to the government of the U.S. if a country is eligible or not, based on its border control, counter-terrorism standards, data sharing, and security measures. Remember, as a resident of one of the participants, you can still apply for a regular visa. In fact, you need to do so if you plan to stay in the U.S. for more than 90 days.
Requirements for using ESTA
-An online application filled out
-The possession of a valid passport, with a barcode or chip readable by a machine. It has to be valid for at least three months after returning to your home country
-Arrival on an approved carrier
-Staying no more than 90 days after entry
In most cases, getting approved for this visa for America is nearly immediate. However, sometimes you need to wait for a couple of days. Many different websites are handling ESTA applications. If you get approved, it is valid for two years. If denied, don’t worry, you can re-apply, but only if the circumstances have changed. Make sure you have all the necessary information available once you submit the application, such as flight details, flight number, and the name of the airport and city you will board from. However, keep in mind that the approved application doesn’t necessarily mean you will be allowed entry to the United States; the final decision depends on the immigration officer.