The Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA application process is relatively simple. The application is 100% electronic and is therefore done online The entire process only takes about 5 minutes to complete and approval is normally received via email within moments of application.
In order to start the process you will need the following:
– A valid e-passport or electronic passport. This is a passport that contains an electronic chip onto which data can be loaded or saved. This is where your ESTA visa will be recorded and although you will receive an email authorization, it is not necessary to print this and no paper document will be needed.
– A valid card to pay the processing and approval fees.
– A receipt for payment of the required $4 processing fee. A further $10 will be charged to your credit card once the visa has been approved.
You can begin the ESTA application process at any time however it is recommended to apply sooner rather than later and no later than 72 hours before travel. The visa is valid from the date of approval for a period of 2 years and allows for multiple entries into the United States.
If your ESTA visa is not approved immediately or within a couple of days of making application, check the website for the status of the application. This will give you an idea as to when you can expect approval.
Should your ESTA have been denied, you should receive an email stating the reason for the denial. If the denial was due to an error or incorrect information, you make the necessary changes and reapply. However, if you have failed to meet the eligibility requirements for travel to the United States, you will not be able to reapply.
If you are concerned or having trouble completing the application process, simply download the ESTA Waiver Application Guide.