During your research on your trip to the US, you may have heard or read about something called ESTA and how some people manage to travel without a visa but with an ESTA instead. That made you curious, and here we are.
ESTA stands for Electronic System of Travel Authorization. It is a document that can be obtained online. If you are eligible for one, iVisa can help you get it in as little as 6 hours. Nevertheless, not everyone qualifies for an ESTA. Only people who travel by air or by sea under the US Visa Waiver Program can get a US ESTA. There are 38 such nationalities. To find out if you are among them, you can use iVisa’s Visa Checker. Once you access the tool, choose your nationality from the drag-down menu on the left, and select the United States in the menu on the right. If you are eligible for a US ESTA, you will be redirected to a page from where you can apply.
How to obtain a US ESTA
If you have established your eligibility, you can go on an apply for an ESTA with iVisa. The process is entirely online, and it should not take you long. However, before filling in the application form, you should ensure that you have all the documentation you need for a successful application. Lucky for you, an ESTA does not require much. You need the following:
Passport – you must hold a valid electronic passport with a digital chip that contains your bio-metric info. At the same time, the passport needs to be valid for at least another 6 months from the date of arrival in the United States.
E-mail address – the US ESTA arrives via e-mail, which is why you must have a valid e-mail address to which you have access. Once iVisa sends you the ESTA, do not forget to print out at least one physical copy of the document.
Means of payment – the payment must be made during the online application process, which is why you must have a method of online payment. iVisa accepts credit and debit cards, but you can also use PayPal, Alipay, or WeChat; whichever you find most convenient.
The next step would be for you to fill in the application form. Most people take about 20 minutes to finish it, but if you need assistance, you can contact iVisa’s support service 24/7.
The application form is broken down into three simple steps. First, you need to insert your personal information, passport info, and some details about your trip. This step also asks for you to select a processing time. Keep in mind that your choice determines the cost of your US ESTA. Here are your options:
Standard processing time – This is the slowest option. Your application is processed within 2 days from submission, and you will be charged just $29.
Rush processing time – if you are looking to get your US ESTA sooner than 48 hours, the Rush option guarantees that you have your document in 12 hours. The cost this time is $59.
Super Rush processing time – since this is the fastest option you have at hand, it is the most expensive as well. You will be charged $79, but you can have your ESTA in as little as 6 hours.
The second step consists of revision and payment. Make sure that your form does not contain any typos or other errors. You cannot make corrections to your application form once it reaches the processing stage. And the last step is when you are asked to upload supporting documents. Once all three steps are complete, just hit the submit button and you are done.
The bottom line is that you can get a ESTA for US entry, but only if you travel under the Visa Waiver Program. Otherwise, you need to go through a regular visa application process unless you are from a visa-exempt country, in which case you do not need a visa or an ESTA to cross the US borders.