Are you automatically approved for travel authorization to the United States?

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Are you automatically approved for travel authorization to the United States?

The ESTA application form, a necessary step

The ESTA is not a type of visa but a system whereby the objective is to facilitate circulation in the airports as well as the work of the immigration agents. Including Europe and Asia, 27 countries in total are members of the Visa Waiver Program.

To visit the United States, citizens of these countries should complete the ESTA application form through the Internet. The application request is payable; a fee needs to be paid on application by credit card, and this needs to be paid individually. Valid for all pleasure, business or transit stays for up to 90 days; the ESTA enables the holder to enter American territory numerous times during the two year period or before the passport expiry if this is sooner.

Although the majority of applicants obtain approval almost immediately, a period of 72 hours before departure should be allowed in order to avoid a refusal that could delay your trip. The ESTA applies to travel by air or sea and does not concern the land borders with Mexico and Canada.


Are all the VWP country member citizens automatically approved for the ESTA?

No, anyone likely to disturb public order is not eligible for an ESTA. An ESTA does not automatically guarantee entry into American territory either. In case of refusal, the traveller should make a visa application at an embassy. You should ensure that all data supplied is correct and corresponds to that given on the traveller’s passport.

For married women, they can choose between their maiden name and married name. When submitting the ESTA application, the traveller certifies the truth and accuracy of all information supplied. They therefore take full responsibility for such and can be liable to criminal prosecution for deliberate, fraudulent or fictitious misrepresentation. This is why the applicant should carefully read and respond to all questions.


More details on the ESTA

You should be aware that all passports are not compatible with the ESTA. To benefit you need an electronic or biometric passport. Passports that can be read optically are valid if they were issued before 26th October 2005. Once submitted, an ESTA application cannot be modified concerning the identification name and passport number.

Other information such as the address or flight number may be modified or updated. An ESTA authorization renewal is necessary upon renewing a passport or changing identification information. It is strongly recommended that you print the ESTA approval and take it with you on your trip. Another copy can be kept in your files for future visits.