The ESTA has been in force since 2009 and has sought to replace the traditional process of being screened and granted your visa at the border. If you haven’t heard of the ESTA before then it is vital that you get your head around what it is, and that you ensure that you have been granted one before you board that plane to the United States. Let’s have a look at what this visa is all about.
What On Earth is An ESTA?
ESTA is part of the visa waiver program which was signed into by many countries who agreed that their citizens, before visiting the United States would have an ESTA, Australia included. This is actually a great idea for both tourists and for immigration officials as it speeds up the entire immigration process. The ESTA is an electronic visa which you must apply for before leaving and this gives governments the chance to screen visitors before they enter the country. Tourists will be able to fly through customs with this new-style visa and get on with their trip sooner rather than later.
How To Apply?
Application is very simple and as long as you have a valid passport, an email address and a method of payment, you can apply for the visa in no time. Head to the USA ESTA website where you will find the application form, fill out some simple answers about your travel history and your purpose for visiting, as well as some personal details, and then await your response. Most ESTAs are granted instantly and a message will be sent to your inbox, you should allow for 48 hours for your reply however. If you aren’t granted the ESTA then you will need to contact your local embassy to find out why.
What Do I Need To Pay?
The cost for your ESTA application is $11 and you will pay this fee regardless of whether the application is granted or not.
How Long Does It Last?
Once you have been granted your ESTA, you will have this for 2 years before it expires. If you are in any doubt as to the status of your ESTA, simply head to the website where you applied, input your passport number and you can find out what the status of you ESTA is, and when you’ll need to re-apply.
Do My Kids Need One?
Even if you are traveling with minors, they will still need their own ESTA application for when they enter the country. You can of course, do this on behalf of your kids so that all of the family have their granted ESTA when the hit the ground in the United States.
Make sure that you don’t overlook this important detail before you travel.