With borders reopening around the world, it can be a bit confusing to know what is currently required for travel and what is required. If you are traveling to the United States, there are many options available to travelers. Depending on the reason for your trip, different visas may be preferable to others. In general, if you are just visiting the United States as a tourist or for a mix of business meetings, conferences and sightseeing, ESTA is usually the easiest travel authorization to apply for.
What is an ESTA?
The ESTA application is a simplified travel authorization available to most travelers from the UK and EU. You can apply for an ESTA online, and US Customs and Border Protection will perform a rudimentary background check to assess whether you may be permitted to travel. An ESTA is a digital travel authorization, it’s not really a paper document. It is digitally connected to your passport, and your airline and airport security can use your passport number to confirm that you have a valid ESTA for travel.
ESTA Requirements and Rules
There are a few rules to keep in mind when applying for your ESTA. The first is the reason for the trip. If you are traveling for tourism, visiting family and friends, or attending a conference or business meetings. Regarding work, as long as you are paid by a party outside the United States, it is considered a business trip, which is allowed with an ESTA.
Most travelers will easily meet the ESTA requirements. There have been a few rule changes over the past few years. Some of these rules include the following:
If you have been to Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, North Korea or Sudan after March 10, 2011, or if you have ever held the nationality of these countries, you cannot unfortunately not currently apply for ESTA.
· If you have traveled to Cuba since January 12, 2021, you will no longer be eligible for an ESTA.
In these two situations, it is still possible to apply for a tourist visa. In this case, it is recommended to allow extra time before moving.
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