You plan to take a trip to the land of Uncle Sam and you already booked your flight and packed up. But have you thought about your travel authorization? In fact, the ESTA form is a compulsory formality if you are going to visit the USA for less than 90 days. You can easily apply for it online if you meet the required conditions.
Who Can Apply for a USA ESTA?
Since the ESTA is a visa exemption, know that if you already have a valid visa, you will not need it to enter the American territory. You will be able to fully enjoy your trip if the purpose corresponds to the type of visa you have. For instance, it would be risky to go to the USA for tourism with a visa for internship. Immigration officers may get suspicious and in the worst case, they will not let you pass.
So, you have to apply for an ESTA if you meet the following conditions:
- You do not have a valid visa.
- You are from one of the 37 countries participating in the ESTA program.
- Your trip is about tourism or business (conferences, signature of a contract).
- You plan to stay in the United States for a maximum of 90 days or you transit through the USA.
- Your passport is valid at the time of your entry into the American territory.
- Your passport is biometric or electronic, unless it is issued before October 26, 2005.
Even if just one these conditions does not apply to you, you are not eligible for the visa exemption and will need to apply for a traditional visa with the US authorities.
The Importance of Having a USA ESTA
The United States is very strict when it comes to visa. For example, we strongly advise against working in the United States without one. If you are exposed, you risk permanent exclusion from the country. If you want to do an internship, get a J-1 visa even if some companies offer to come and work for them with an ESTA. On the other hand, if you just want to discover some of the wonders of the USA as a tourist and do not expect to stay there for more than 3 months, a valid ESTA will permits you to travel legally in any state. For an ESTA application, you can go on this web page: https://www.travel-authorization.co.uk/application-form-esta-usa.htm.