Electronic System for Travel Authorization or in short ESTA is an electronic system through which the eligibility of travelers to the United States of America is checked. This is used chiefly for the travelers traveling under the Visa Wavier Program or in short VWP. ESTA check whether the traveler is a threat to the security or requires any law enforcement to be enforced.
ESTA is not a visa as it does not meet the usual conditions of a visa or function as a document to replace a permit. The traveler who is holding an ordinary visa need not obtain an ETSA. Also, ETSA is not a guarantee that you will have entry into United Sates of America. The traveler traveling to America under the VWP is mandatory to obtain the ETSA and also needs to fill up and submit a blue customs form once he arrive the US. Such travelers no longer need to complete the process and obtain green I 94 W cards. ETSA was made mandatory from 2009 onwards. From then it became the authority approval for a traveler under VWP to board a means of transport to the United States. However, if the transport is a private carrier, then the carrier needs to be VWP signatory carrier.
How to Get
ETSA can be obtained by applying just before boarding the carrier as the response is given back within seconds. The authorities usually suggest applying before seventy-two hours of the travel. ETSA are valid for two years or till the passport expiry date whichever is falling earlier. Also, an issued ETSA approves multiple travels to the United States without reapplying. But the condition is that not more than 90 days of continuous stay is permitted, and also there should be sufficient gap between the travels. This is to ensure that the ETSA visa holder is not going for a permanent stay in the United States.
ETSA requires revalidation if the following conditions arises even if you still have balance days left for ETSA
• When your passport is renewed or changed or re-issued
• When there is a change in name like after marriage your last name changes
• When you have changed in gender
• When your citizenship or country of origin changes by choices or by the political changes happened there
• If you are convicted by the court of law in the country origin or any other place.
The expiring of ETSA, while you are in the United States, do not affect your return travel. However, it is not a suggestible or ideal situation to happen. While applying for ETSA, there are a four dollar charges towards processing and once it is approved an additional of 10 dollars is also charged by the authorities. This 10 dollars in not required to pay if your application is rejected.