So, you’ve decided that you’d like to take a trip to the United States of America. You’ve figured out where in the country you’re going to go, how long you’re going to go there for, how much money you’re going to need to take with you. Now, you have to check that your passport is valid, you need to book flights and make sure you have a visa. Correct. Well, almost.
Everything in that list sounds about right – apart from the visa. Alas, there is a more simple option now when traveling to the US. There is now a magical item called ESTA. This wonderful invention is a part of the Visa Waiver Programme and allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the US without having to obtain a visa.
You may be asking yourself “What makes the ESTA so magical?” Ah, you see… there are multiple benefits to this over the conventional visa. For starters, the ESTA is considerably cheaper than a visa at just $14. Moreover, the validity period lasts for a whole two years and in that time you may travel to the United States as many times as you like.
Within that time, you can stay in the United States for up to 90 days per visit and up to 180 days in the whole year.
During your stay in the US, you may be required to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself financially while you’re there. You may also be asked to provide a brief on what you’re planning to do, and how long you’re planning to stay in the country for, too.
Countries eligible for the ESTA under the Visa Waiver Programme include the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Norway, and France, among others. To find out if your country is able to apply, click here.
The ESTA is intended for anybody planning on traveling to the US for business or pleasure purposes, thus, you may not work or study on an ESTA.
The way in which you can apply for the form is solely online, and completion takes only a few minutes. After which you will receive an email outlining if you have been granted an ESTA or not. Failed applicants must apply for a standard VISA.
How does this apply to all of you living abroad?
-If you are a US citizen living abroad you do not need the ESTA to enter the US. All you need is your US passport.
-If you are living in the US on as a US resident you do not need the ESTA when you reenter the country. Make sure you have your residency card with you, though.
-If you are a citizen of a non-Visa Waiver Program country but you are living in Visa Waiver Program country, you do not qualify. You will need to get a visa.
-If you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country but you are living in a country not covered under the visa program, you can apply for the ESTA.
If you need more info on the ESTA and to see if you are eligable, check out ESTA Form!
This post was contributed by Josh and Sophie over at ESTA Form.
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