Understanding ESTA – All The Information You Need To Know

Wasn’t it all easier in the past? No fee to pay to enter, no huge paperwork, just a small passport and a good mood. However, since the terrorist attacks from September 11th, 2001, tourists encountered problems in wanting to enter the US just like that. They have to go through security checks, infernal queues and even a fee. The reason behind the fee is them wanting to support and promote tourism. Since 2010, it’s crucial to have an ESTA document. We are here to share all the information you need to understand ESTA. 

Understanding ESTA – What Is ESTA?

ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorisation is sometimes confused with a visa. It’s not a visa, but rather a security system made for travellers which want to enter the US, which is also a part of the countries from the Visa Waiver Programme, such as the UK.

Understanding ESTA – Do I need ESTA?

If you’re planning to come to the US, yes. Any international UK traveller, who comes to the US as a tourist or with business jobs for a period of 90 days must have the ESTA. Without it, you’ll not be able to board the flight.

You should also keep in mind that even if you’re just passing by, you’ll need your ESTA authorization. Even your baby needs an ESTA. However, if you’re entering the US on land from Mexico or Canada, you’re free to do it without an ESTA.

Understanding ESTA – How do I get ESTA?

It’s simple, you’ll net to go online for this. You have a form to fill out, which requires, among others, personal details, passport number and your address. Also, it asks you if you’ve ever been convicted for something.

Understanding ESTA – Should I pay for ESTA?

Starting with the 8th of September, yeah, you have to. It costs $14,  or £9 and you need to pay it with your credit card. This sum is made out of $4, which is paid for the processing fee, and $10 for the authorization fee. These $10 will be paid back if your application is refused. Do not seek help on the internet, fill the form by yourself. You don’t need to pay any more money.

For most of the people, the confirmation comes almost immediately. But it’s advisable to submit your application 72 hours before the travel. Take a copy to the airport, just in case. 

Understanding ESTA – How much time does ESTA last?

It’s valid for 2 years unless your passport expires in the meantime. In case you changed your name, gender or the country of citizenship, or the answer to one of the questions from the form, you’ll need to apply again before those 2 years are up.

If it expires while still in the US, don’t worry. You’ll re-apply again when you’re home.

Understanding ESTA – How to update your ESTA?

You can do it at any time, even after is submitted. You can update your email address, telephone number, any information regarding transport or the city you’re going to go.

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