Traveling to another country is always a refreshing expirience. You get to meet new cultures, new places, learn many historical facts, try some new food, or maybe even learn some new skills. Generally, whatever you like, good time is guaranteed. Sometimes, getting all the paperwork done is not so easy to achieve, but in case you`re traveling to the United States, things can`t get any more simple.
But first of all, we need to understand the term Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Administrated by the Department of Homeland Security, VWP is a program that gives the possibility to the citizens of 38 countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa. In return, those countries have to allow the U.S citizens to travel to their countries under the similar conditions. Over the years VWP has turned out into a very significant security partnership with a lot of America`s alies. This program utilizes very complex approach to detect serious criminals and terrorists, and stop them from entering the country. It implies national-level risk assessment, and vetting of individual VWP travelers.
Everyone traveling under the VWP program is obligated to obtain pre-travel authorization via ESTA system. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), is an online application system that helps Custom and Border Protection authorities to determine eligibility of travelers. With the help of ESTA visa services, applying process is very simple and it doesn’t thake much time. It`s important to first check whether your country is or isn`t a part of the VWP program. 1The application must be filled out and submitted at least 72 hours before traveling, otherwise you might not be allowed to get into the country.
People sometimes make mistake by thinking that ESTA is the same thing as a regular visa. It`s not the same thing, because ESTA doesn’t guarantee entrance to the country, but rather allows travelers to get to any entry point where the official authorities make the final decision. If by some chance your application gets denied, there are other options:
• You can change the traveling destination.
• Try to apply for a regular American visa at your local US Consulate or Embassy,
• Consider reapplying (but keep in mind that using false data could result in loosing your right to travel to the US indefinitely).
Once your application has been processed and approved, a confirmation number will be sent to your email. That way you can check your ESTA status and update your information at any moment. Approved ESTA lasts for two years and you can have multiple trips back to the US.
ESTA application is not free, so you need to have a valid credit card to pay for applying. The fee includes:
• Processing Charge costs 4$.
• Authorization Charge is additional 10$ in case your application is approved.
There are many traveling companies offering help with the application, but this is unnecessary, because the application isn’t complicated to fill out, and you will pay a lot more if a third party is involved, sometimes over 100$.