Are you planning to visit the United States for business or pleasure? If so, you should apply for the ESTA visa USA before you board a United States-bound flight or ship. The United Kingdom is a country that participates in the visa waiver program implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In fact, the VWP program was implemented to prescreen all travellers to the United States from VWP countries. The ESTA scheme became mandatory in 2009 due to the prevailing security situation across the globe. Here are the important requirements when applying for the electronic system for travel authorisation or ESTA.
The ESTA is not a visa. Hence, an individual from a non-VWP country shouldn’t attempt to apply for a travel authorisation. In fact, the only purpose of the ESTA is for the DHS to prescreen all visitors from VWP countries. This is done before the visitor leaves his/her respective country. A US-bound UK traveller should apply for the ESTA at least before 72 hours of boarding the US-bound flight or ship. The approval takes only a few minutes once you apply for the ESTA. It will be delivered via your email address. Hence, you need a valid email address and a credit or debit card to pay the small fee when applying for the travel authorisation. The process is 100% online where you answer the questions asked by the DHS. If they require further information, they will request you to forward the relevant documents. If this happens, the approval can delay more than 4-5 days. That is why you need to apply for the approval well in advance when you plan to visit the United States.
There are signature carriers that carry ESTA visa travellers to the United States. You should reserve space in a signature carrier when travelling on an ESTA visa. The ESTA is valid for 90 days for business and leisure purposes. It is valid for two years from the date of issue. But you should reapply for the ESTA in case:
. Your passport expires before the two years
. You change your name
. You change the citizenship
The approval takes only five minutes, and everything is done online. That is why millions of travellers prefer to apply for the travel authorisation when travelling to the United States. The above article provides information on the basic requirements for applying for the electronic approval to travel to the United States.