The USA has been a lucrative center for commerce and tourism for a long time. It acknowledges the immense scope of these two domains on its economy. But at the same time, it wants to protect national security and not compromise on safety of its own citizens. To achieve a balance between both, the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) has emerged as a viable option.
ESTA online application and subsequent approval permits VWP natives to travel visa-free to the US, subject to fulfilling certain conditions. These are as follows –
The maximum period of stay in the US is for 90 days
ESTA gov approval doesn’t automatically imply entrance to the US. A person may be subjected to one more round of scrutiny at the airport or seaport by the Customs and Border officials.
The applicant should not have violated any terms of ESTA in the past
If a person has visited one of the below nations since March 01, 2011, then ESTA cannot be provided
Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, or Yemen
If a person has dual citizenship with Iran, Iraq, Libya, or Sudan then too he/ she cannot apply for ESTA under the VWP
If a person from a VWP country needs to travel to the US, he/ she should fulfil the above criteria. An ESTA gov US visa costs around $14 for each application. It is interesting to note that only VWP natives who have an e-passport are eligible to take advantage of the VWP norms.
Does ESTA qualify automatic approval to enter the US?
No. The ESTA is like a pre-qualification check for people to enter the US. It allows a traveler to board a carrier to the US. At the customs site at airport or at the border, the person might be subjected to further checks by the CBP officials. It will be at their sole discretion to decide if the person can enter the US or not. If a person is not permitted by the CBP authority, he/ she may have to turn back even if he/ she has a valid ESTA authorization and approval.
It is crucial to note that the ‘Passport issuing country’ field needs to be filled as per the country or nationality of the applicant, rather than the place at which the passport was issued. So, if a Singaporean citizen is issued a passport in the US, he/ she should mark the ‘Passport issuing country’ as Singapore.
To sign off
If you are a VWP country national, then you may be eligible for an ESTA gov US visa. Make sure to apply for ESTA online from this link and start your ESTA approval processing or Read Here For more info.