Essential Tips for ESTA Application
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) constitutes an automated system determining the eligibility to travel to the U.S. by visitors through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). ESTA authorization is not a guarantee that a traveller is admissible to the U.S. The United States Customs and Border Protection officials determine a travellers’ admissibility upon their arrival.
Through ESTA application, the travellers’ biographic information is collected together with answering VWP eligibility questions. The ESTA applications may be handed over any time before travel. However, it is essential that applications begin as soon as travel plans start or before the purchase of air travel tickets.
Here are quick but essential tips for ESTA application.
No need for an Immigration Attorney
ESTA application does not require an immigration attorney for travel authorization. Sometimes this may add to incurring unnecessary costs including the use of the services of travel agents. Completing the application is a straightforward process. However, foreign nationals who have previously had immigration issues, cautioned or arrested may need a lawyer’s assistance to ensure the answering of questions is correct.
Concerning foreign nationals, the ESTA application must be completed 72 hours before the trip to the United States. During the application, it is a requirement to have your passport, flight details as well as the location address of your stay in the U.S. After the completion of the ESTA application, the application number should be kept in a safe place.
A printout of the application is not a requirement to foreign nationals upon their arrival to the U.S., but it is recommended to keep it. It acts as a record for reference. It is also vital during future changes of information provided.
Once the application for ESTA is complete, foreign nationals only have the permission to update their place of stay in the U.S. and their email addresses. Any other changes may need a fresh application for ESTA authorization. The changes may include travel to Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen or Libya on or after 1st March 2011, visa denial at the US Embassy/Consulate, new passport acquisition among many other changes.
Renewal of ESTA application is required in time to facilitate future U.S. additional trips for foreign nationals who have previously received the authorization. ESTA authorization has a validity of two years only or until the expiration of your passport. It depends on what comes first among the two.
Foreign nationals should disclose any prior arrests or immigration issues during the ESTA application. These include issues such as U.S. visa denial or U.S. denial of entry. Failure to disclose such is construed as fraud which automatically may render the applicant inadmissible to the United States.
As discussed above, foreign nationals with previous legal and immigration issues should consult immigration lawyers on how such instances may affect the visa application.
Once the ESTA system approves the foreign national as eligible under the VWP, travelling to the U.S. may begin. It should be noted that ESTA application does not determine whether a visitor is admissible to the United States. The Customs and Border Protection officers are the determinants upon arrival.