US ESTA or Visa?

Whether you are only transiting through the United States or planning to visit, it is necessary to obtain either a US visa or an ESTA USA, unless you hold a valid US or Canadian passport. For most holiday or business trips to the US, an ESTA application is sufficient instead of a visa. This page provides comprehensive information to help you understand the differences between an ESTA and a visa and determine which one is necessary for your travel plans.

What is an ESTA?

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a digital travel authorization that allows eligible travelers to enter the USA without a visa. Implemented by the US government as a security measure to prevent unwanted travelers, including those in transit, from boarding flights or ships to the country, the ESTA is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. Similar to other electronic travel programs, such as Canada’s eTA and Australia’s eVisitor visa, the ESTA streamlines the travel process by replacing physical visas or visa-free travel, making it more efficient and convenient.

The ESTA USA offers several benefits

The ESTA USA offers numerous benefits for travelers heading to the United States. It replaces the need for a traditional US visa, streamlining the process and reducing complexity, time, and cost. Instead of requiring an embassy appointment, the ESTA application is completed entirely online, needing only a digital passport copy. Additionally, urgent ESTA applications are typically processed swiftly, with approval times averaging an hour or less. Applicants also benefit from automated email and text notifications, keeping them informed about their application status.

ESTA explanation

The main objective of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization is to prevent individuals with malicious intentions from entering the United States, particularly those who pose a threat to national security and law enforcement. By submitting an ESTA application, the US Customs and Border Protection agency is notified in advance of individuals seeking entry into the country, allowing authorities to more easily deny access to unwanted travelers. A crucial aspect of this process is the inclusion of a straightforward legal system, reflected in the ESTA statement that is part of every application. In this statement, applicants confirm that all travelers included in the ESTA application, submitted under a single form, will not contest the final decision regarding their entry into the United States.

ESTA implementation

The ESTA system was implemented by the American Department of Homeland Security to improve flight safety and enhance control of entry into the United States. It was introduced in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and replaced the green I-94W form, which had to be completed on the plane, requiring travelers to provide information about themselves, their trip, and their residence.

Applying for an ESTA

Applying for an ESTA is convenient and straightforward through our website’s digital application form. Once the application is submitted, the ESTA statement is included, and upon approval by the US immigration service, a confirmation is sent via email and text message. To learn more about the ESTA procedure or begin the application process, click the button below.



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