Traveling to the United States of America on ESTA

Canadian Passport

It has becoming easier for travelers to get into the United States of America now, thanks to ESTA. ESTA, also known as an Electronic System for Travel Authorization, helps travelers apply for their entry permit to the United States. For people, who can apply for ESTA, don’t need to get a visa to get into the U.S. As long as travelers belong to countries that are feature on the ESTA list, they can travel to the U.S. by air or sea and ESTA is applicable for them even if they are just passing through with no intentions of staying over. Any traveler looking to step into the United States has to apply for ESTA in advance to avoid any complications when they reach there. As it’s an electronic visa application, everything has to be done online by the travelers a few weeks before their planned visit or stop.


What is ESTA?

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization was set up more than five years ago by the immigration department of the United States of America. It is an online system that lets travelers know in advance whether or not they are eligible to enter the United States of America under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Before the existence of ESTA, there was another system that included a green I-94W piece of paper, also known as the Visa Waiver form. The green I-94W piece of paper used to be filled on a plane into the United States. This way was the only way travelers knew if they are eligible to enter the United States the minute they passed through immigration and customs on their arrival; all depending on what travelers had put on the form. With ESTA, travelers are able to complete whatever procedures online and they will know in advance if they permitted to enter the United States or not. The new technology allows travelers to not waste time and money with ticket fares and hotel bookings.


Why is ESTA required?

Travelers need an ESTA if they are coming to the United States by air or by sea. If travelers are coming to the U.S. by land from either Canada or Mexico, they need to fill in an I-94W form if they don’t have an approved ESTA on hand. Even for travelers, who are only in transit in the U.S., should sign up for ESTA or else, they can be denied entry or even sent back by the immigration.



How to Sign Up for ESTA?

Travelers can sign up for ESTA online. For those, who don’t have an internet connection, should find someone or a place, that’s able to provide them with an internet access to get to sign up for ESTA. Once travelers have signed up for ESTA, they will get a reference number that must be kept safely. For all travelers, after completing ESTA, they should print out the authorization page.


How long does ESTA last for?

Travelers, who have applied for ESTA, will have to renew their applications after two years. When applying for ESTA, the application date is provided on the website. If travelers have lost their passport, then they need to apply again for ESTA once they get a new passport. If their passports expired, then they should complete a new application as soon as they get their new passport.


Entry to the United States is decided by a US Customs and Border Protection officer

Travelers, who have completed a successful ESTA application, should know that their entry to the United States of America can only be guaranteed by a US Customs and Border Protection officer. A successful ESTA application shows that the traveler is eligible to travel to the U.S., but as far as entry into the United States is concerned, it all depends on the US Customs and Border Protection officer assisting the traveler. Whatever the decision of the US Customs and Border Protection officer might be, it will be at their discretion. So far since ESTA was introduced, not that many people where were turned away. At least, there are not that many bad experiences to talk about.


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2 Responses to “Traveling to the United States of America on ESTA”

  1. Tina
    September 14, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    In Australia they call it ETA.

  2. April Yap
    September 1, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

    Thanks for sharing!!! I didnt know before the meaning of ESTA.

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