One of those countries that every traveler yearns to know in his life is the United States. A country of almost ten million square meters in which we can find everything one can imagine: paradisiacal beaches, deserts, spectacular national parks, cities that never sleep, incredible monuments and museums, adventure sports, theme parks and gastronomy of any kind. corner of the planet.
In the United States there are millions of things to see and do but to enter the land of opportunities it is essential to obtain the ESTA (Electronic Authorization System to travel). In the next post we will explain how to get yours quickly and easily.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is ESTA?
- 2 Process the ESTA in advance
- 3 Get the ESTA for a group
- 4 Find out and prepare the credit card
- 5 How long does the ESTA last once obtained?
- 6 Is an ESTA required to enter the US by land?
- 7 And for travelers in transit?
- 8 That you have a job is always a plus
- 9 Take a printed copy of the ESTA with you
What is ESTA?
It is a permit that allows the traveler to be on vacation in the United States for a maximum of 90 non-extendable days. If the reason for the trip is for studies or business, it will be necessary to apply for a specific visa. The ESTA is only an authorization to enter the country as a tourist.
For example, being Spanish you will not need to obtain a tourist visa to go to the United States thanks to the Visa Waiver program. This way you will save a lot of paperwork although not of processing the ESTA.
Process the ESTA in advance
When it comes to obtaining the ESTA, the saying "do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today" takes on all its meaning. You have to carry out the procedures to get it as soon as possible but if you are one of those who likes to improvise, keep in mind that at least you will have to process the ESTA 72 hours in advance. This is the maximum time it could take for the system to accept or deny your request.
Normally, the electronic system responds instantly by offering you one of those two responses. In case the system answers with pending authorization, the next step will be to return to the home page and click to verify ESTA status. To do this, they will ask for your date of birth, your application number and your passport number.
In case your ESTA is denied, your only option to travel to the United States is to apply for a visa at the nearest embassy or consulate. They are more complicated to obtain and require more work and time than a simple online form. Patience!
Get the ESTA for a group
There is an option that allows you to fill out the relevant form in a group in case you travel to the United States with friends, family or colleagues. The electronic system allows you to request and pay multiple ESTAs at the same time. In addition, even if the ESTA is obtained for a group, if later there is a problem with any of the Esta requests within the group, you can always print yours separately.
As a curiosity, babies traveling in the arms of their parents also need their own ESTA as well as their own passport.
Find out and prepare the credit card
When planning a trip, it is usual to give priority to buying the plane ticket and then looking for accommodation, but when you travel to the United States, the procedure is reversed.
One of the essential information that the American country asks travelers when filling in the ESTA form is their contact information during their stay in the United States. That is, they need to know in advance where you will stay while you visit the US Without this information it will be impossible for you to get the ESTA.
Therefore, make sure that the information you provide is correct because the airport immigration control will ask you upon arrival and you will not want to screw up. The agents are very strict on these matters.
In addition, they will not let you enter the United States without a return ticket to Spain or your country. The permit is for 90 days and you will not be able to stay in the United States after that period.
Even so, having an ESTA does not guarantee entry to the United States. The final decision rests with the customs agent who attends you upon arrival.
As for the cost of processing the ESTA, it has a price of $ 14 that you must pay at the moment by credit or debit card, Visa or Mastercard through its website.
How long does the ESTA last once obtained?
As a general rule, the ESTA allows access to the United States for stays of a maximum of 90 days for two years, counting from the same day it is requested. That is, if the ESTA is requested on April 30, 2017, the authorization will be valid until April 10, 2019, even if it took a couple of days to be approved.
Is an ESTA required to enter the US by land?
If your trip starts first in Mexico or Canada and then takes you to the United States, the ESTA will not be necessary as long as you enter through a land border. However, you will have to fill out the I-94W green card, as was done on airplanes before the existence of the ESTA. Currently this permit is only required when trying to enter the United States by sea or air.
And for travelers in transit?
Too. The ESTA is mandatory on all travel to the United States by sea or air, even when you do not intend to leave the airport. The reason is that to transfer planes in the United States you will have to go through immigration, collect your luggage and check in again even if the connecting flight is international.
That you have a job is always a plus
Having a job at the time of your trip to the United States is very convenient because even if you visit it on vacation, it is one of the data that is most looked at when you apply for ESTA. The US government wants to prevent illegal immigration with the excuse that it only wants to visit the country. They are very cautious.
Take a printed copy of the ESTA with you
Although it is not mandatory, it is always advisable to carry a copy of the ESTA with you. Cautious person is worth two.