USA ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) help & FAQ

Aid-Air experts answers visa services questions

USA ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) help and FAQ by Aid-Air immigration experts
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What is the US ESTA?

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that assists in determining eligibility to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk. Upon completion of an ESTA application, a traveler is notified of his or her eligibility to travel to the United States under the VWP.

What do I need to apply for a US ESTA?

We require the following to submit your application:

  • The passport must be an electronic passport with a digital chip containing bio-metric info.
  • Travelers must have a passport with at least 6-month validity from the planned date of entry.
  • Passport holders must also provide their passport number and Personal Identification Number (PIN).

What is the cost to obtain a US ESTA?

The ESTA cost for the US is USD 14.00.

Additionally, there is a service fee:

  • USD 15.00 for standard processing.
  • For Rush and Super Rush processing, the service fee is USD 45.00 and USD 65.00 respectively.

* The price can change, the correct fee present at applying

How long does it take to process a US ESTA?

It depends on the method of processing time you chose. We offer three options:

  • Standard Processing Time: 24 hours
  • Rush Processing: 4 hours
  • Super Rush Processing: 30 minutes

* The processing time can change, the correct time at applying

How long is the US ESTA valid for?

The US ESTA is valid for 2 years after the issue. It is a multiple entry visa and allows for a maximum stay of 90 days Per Entry.

How long is the US ESTA valid for?

The US ESTA is valid for 2 years after the issue. It is a multiple entry visa and allows for a maximum stay of 90 days Per Entry.

Do my children need to apply for their own US ESTA?

Yes, accompanied and unaccompanied children (regardless of age) require their own ESTA before their travel to the U.S. Children listed on their parents’ passport do not qualify for an ESTA. Children must have their own (unexpired) passport to qualify for an ESTA.

What can I do if I am denied a US ESTA?

If your application for an ESTA is denied, you will be required to apply for a United States visitor visa, such as a B-2 Tourist Visa.

How soon before my arrival should I apply?

You should apply at least 3 days before your arrival. However, since the ESTA is valid for 2 years after the issue, it is recommended that you apply as soon as you are able.

When will I have to re-apply for the US ESTA?

The US ESTA approvals will be granted for 2 years after issued or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. The ESTA will show the applicable validity dates.

In what cases must I obtain a visa before traveling to the USA?

You must get the US Visa at one of their embassies if any of the following conditions apply to you: (1) If you will arrive in the USA aboard an air carrier (by plane). (2) If you will visit the USA for more than 90 days. (3) If you are traveling to the USA for a purpose other than short-term tourism or business.

I hold dual citizenship. Am I still eligible for a US ESTA?

Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria are NOT eligible for an ESTA.

Also, nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen on or after March 1, 2011, are not eligible for an ESTA.

Does the US ESTA guarantee admission into the United States?

No. If your ESTA is approved, it only states that you are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, but does not guarantee that you are admissible to the United States. Upon arrival in the USA, you will be inspected by an Immigration officer who will determine that you are admissible under the Visa Waiver Program and/or any other United States law.

Who is eligible to apply for the US ESTA?

Citizen/nationals of one of the countries can apply for the ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Malta
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

NOTE: The citizens of the new countries of Curacao, Bonaire, and St Maarten (the former Netherlands Antilles) are not eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program if they are applying for admission with passports from these countries.

What is the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is administered by the DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) and enables eligible citizens or nationals of designated countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (for stays of up to 90 days) without first obtaining a visa.

I already have a valid visa. Do I still need a US ESTA to travel to the United States?

Individuals who possess a valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose for which it was issued. Individuals traveling on valid visas are not required to apply for an ESTA.

Do I need to have confirmed travel plans before applying for a US ESTA?

No, you do not have to have a confirmed travel itinerary (flights or otherwise) before applying.

What is the maximum number of days I can stay in the United States with a US ESTA?

The maximum stay is 90 days Per Entry. The ESTA is valid for 2 years after issued (or when your passport expires, whichever occurs first) and allows you multiple entries during its validity period. However, each entry cannot exceed 90 days Per Entry.

What happens if my US ESTA expires after I arrive in the United States? Will it affect my departure?

No. If your ESTA expires after you arrive in the U.S., it will not affect your departure. However, once you have departed you will need to renew your ESTA to re-enter the U.S.

Vaccination requirements to travel to the United States

Yellow Fever vaccine is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Check WHO – Countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and countries requiring yellow fever vaccination.

Learn more about United States Tourism

Every nation around the world has heard about the American Dream, right? The US is the land of opportunity, and dogs walk around with bagel around their tails. While that is not entirely true, you cannot miss the chance to visit the States.

There are good and bad things, just like anywhere else in the world, but the main thing you should remember is that a trip to the US can be a life-changing experience. Here is what you should know about the United States before you take a trip there. First of all, you cannot grasp just how huge the United States is.

To get a clear picture, a flight from New York to LA lasts just as much as one from New York to London. Is that clear enough for you? The United States covers a continent from one coast to the other, so it makes sense that is big, right? While that may not affect you, you should probably be aware that you cannot explore many of the states in just one vacation.

Just make an itinerary of the things that you would like to see, and take it from there. Something that will have a significant impact on you is the number of people. There are a lot of them, and big cities are usually packed.

Plus, and you are going to like this one, there are so many cultures in just one country that it will make your head spin. You can find people of all races, religions, and different whatever you can think of. You could say that the United States is a melting pot of different cultures, but that is one of its beauties. Needless to say, you need to show respect for every single culture you come across to.

Otherwise, your trip will not be as pleasant as expected. While most of the countries in the world have the metric system, the United States still has the imperial system. I am saying ‘still’ because a lot of people would want to go from imperial to metric.

It makes more sense for most people. Plus, they have names for every measurement which can be a hella confusing for foreigners used to the metric system. Do you want a gallon of milk or just a few ounces? Who knows? Only Americans do.

Another thing that will probably baffle you is shopping. Not because you may have difficulties in choosing from the vast variety of products, but because the price on the shelf and the total you need to pay at check-out are different. Why? Because the price tag at the shelf does not contain tax.

At all. The cashier adds the tax when you want to leave. So make sure that you have more money than you think you need before going to a grocery store. Tipping, while it is voluntary in theory, is more of a must.

That is because waiters work on a minimum wage, and they depend on your tip to make a good living. It seems a bit backward, to be honest, but that is the practice in the United States. As if that were not enough, tipping is considered generous. It needs to be somewhere between 15% and 20% of the total amount you need to pay.

The worst part about this is that some tourists declared that they were harassed because they tipped too little. That is not a general rule, but if there is a bad time to be a cheapskate, this is it. You may be a bit overwhelmed if you visit the big cities in the United States.

For example, New York is an enormous city, and while you cannot get lost thanks to the mighty internet, it will be a little too much. Especially if you are not used to metropolitan areas. There are a lot of people everywhere at any given time. New York is not called the city that never sleeps for no reason. One of the things that you will love about the United States is that you can find places open 24/7 almost everywhere.

Do you want Thai food at 5 AM? No problem. There are probably a dozen such places open at that hour. You can get everything anytime, which is one of the aspects that foreigners usually love.

Another aspect that tourists appreciate in the United States is the food. As you can imagine, the best restaurants in the world are in the US. New York and San Francisco have a lot of restaurants that have Michelin stars, which we all know that it is not anything. Of course, you need to afford to eat at one of those restaurants, but if you do, you should try it.

Famous chefs cook there, and the food is heavenly. Speaking of food, Americans eat a lot of beef. They do eat chicken and pork as well, but the beef is the primary meat in consumption.

That is one of the reasons why Montana has three times more cows than people. Even so, you find a vast variety of dishes that contain rare beef, and you should try it at least once. Lastly, you should know that people in the United States are generally nice and welcoming.

Some things will come off as cold, like the way they say goodbye or the fact that they hang up the phone without saying goodbye, but they are sociable and friendly. They are always curious about new people, and chances are that they will make you feel at home.

The bottom line is that you can find pretty much whatever you want in the United States. You should also explore nature while there because the United States has the most beautiful national parks in the world. Do not limit yourself to urban areas.

Other than that, you will enjoy your experience there, and you will probably want to come back to check out the parts that are not a part of your initial itinerary.