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ESTA for entry in to the USA

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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.

ESTA validity

Your ESTA is linked to your passport, which means that your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your stay in the United States. In most cases, the ESTA will be valid for 2 years, but if your passport expires in less than 2 years, then your ESTA will be valid until the expiry date of your passport.

Once you have an ESTA, you can enter the United States as often as you like, as long as you leave before the ESTA expires. Each stay can be for a maximum of 90 days. If you want to stay in the United States longer than 90 days, you must apply for another tourist visa.

Transit through the United States

If you are just transiting through the United States, you still need to have an ESTA. If you are traveling with a layover in any part of the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or Guam, you must also have a valid ESTA.

The good news is that even if you apply for an ESTA for transit, you can still use the ESTA later as long as it is still valid for travel to the United States for tourism. The initial reason for travel is simply to help Customs and Border Protection understand the reason for your visit, but you can use ESTA afterwards to travel to the United States.

Application form

For most travelers, the application form is basic and straightforward. Some of the added benefits are with the ESTA application form you can apply as a group for family and friends which makes the application process easier. Most information only needs to be filled out once, and additional traveler information is simplified.

The group request can even be made for travelers who do not live in the same household. As long as all travelers in the group application reside in the same country, the form can be completed by one traveler on behalf of other travellers.

The form itself only takes a few moments to complete, and once the applications are approved, you can enjoy your vacation in the United States.

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