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Every person traveling from the UK to the US has to fill out an ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) in advance. The online system that became obligatory in January 2009 informs applicants whether they qualify to travel under the USA Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Previously, individuals filled out a 1-94w form on their way to the US, costing approximately $6 per traveler.


 Unfortunately, this method was pretty inconvenient because you could only find out about your VWP approval on arrival. On the other hand, ESTA minimizes huge losses on previous hotel bookings and plane fares if the application gets rejected. Below is an informative guide on anything you need to hear about ESTA application.

Where is VWP Eligible?


At the moment, 38 countries embrace the visa waiver program. This includes Taiwan, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Slovakia, Singapore, Slovenia, San Marino, Norway, the Netherlands, Hungary, Greece, Germany, Finland, and Estonia.


In addition, we have Australia, Andorra, Belgium, Austria, Brunei, Denmark, Chili, Lithuania, Japan, Iceland, Latvia, Japan, Malta, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Monaco, Czech Republic, Iceland, Taiwan, France, Finland, and Spain. 


It is worth noting that residents from the mentioned countries need no application for a visa for the USA business or tourism stay. Still, you must pay for an all-around trip and have a legal ESTA, which allows you to stay in the US for not more than 90 days. Do not forget to apply for medical cover during your stay in the USA. For individuals planning to extend their stay, apply for a VISA in the Consulate or an American Embassy near you.

ESTA Application Process


Before booking your accommodation and flights, it is vital to apply for a traveling permit. That way, in case of a rejection, you do not have to incur any losses. Remember that an ESTA application is strictly made online. 


Typically, all you need is to visit the ESTA web page at the US Department of Homeland Security. It usually takes roughly five minutes to fill in the required information in a language of your choice. Mainly, they ask for a passport number, expiry dates, UK contacts, and the address of where you plan to stay in the USA.


 Often, the application status is communicated back within seconds. In rare cases, the process takes slightly longer but no more than 72 hours. Once approved, you can use it for at least two years or till the passport expires. After expiry, you should repeat the entire process for another copy.


Nonetheless, print the reference number and carry it to the airport on the traveling day. Luckily, in case you lose it, go back to the ESTA site and retrieve the application. The US Customs and Border application states that a third party or travel agent can fill the form for a traveler. Therefore even if you are not able to apply for the document, request a relative or friend to do it for you.


ESTA Doesn’t Warrant Entry to the USA


Although ESTA approval is a sigh of relief to most travelers, it does not guarantee an instant entry into the USA. Instead, it only dictates that you have qualified to travel to any state on American soil. Nevertheless, in case of a denial, you can request a non-migrant USA visa. Usually, the rejected application costs about $ 4 to cater to the admin fee.


Bear in mind that the US Customs and Border Protection authority can deny entry at the border for specific reasons. Although this rarely happens, failure to declare a previous criminal record can reduce your chances of accessing the USA. 


The Last Word


Currently, several copycat ESTA websites promise fast and efficient service. However, be wary of getting conned or obtaining an illegal document. Beyond anything, confirm if the site logo is trademarked or not. Most importantly, seek help at the US Department of State site for further clarifications.