If you want to visit the United States, there are some requirements you need to fulfill. Some countries fall under the visa restrictions, and if you are their citizen, it is necessary. Others are a part of the VWP or Visa Waiver Program and are visa-free.
ESTA was launched by the Department of Homeland Security, and it is a web-based data collection system. If you want to visit the US, and are from a country which is under the VWP, you need to be ESTA approved. Many countries are a part of this program – Australia, Iceland, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, San Marino, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Portugal, Spain, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Andorra, and the Republic of Korea. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, you are eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP.
More than 98% of applicants have been approved until this moment. If you don’t have this visa, you might be denied boarding or admission to the US. However, if you have it, it doesn’t mean you will be allowed to enter, as the final decision depends on the immigration officer. Also, there are some requirements you need to fulfill before getting approved for the ESTA visa. The first is that you need to be a citizen or national of a country that is a part of the VWP. The second condition is having a return ticket. The last requirement is that you are only allowed to stay up to 90 days, no more than that. Also, you need to have a valid passport.
Some people get confused when mentioning ESTA. Remember, it only applies to foreign nationals who are eligible to travel under its terms and conditions, without a Visa or Green Card. The United States citizens don’t need it to enter, only those countries under the VWP.
If you already have a visa or need it to enter the US, you don’t need to be a part of the ESTA process, as it is not necessary. Only those without it need to apply. To get approved, you need to fill out the I-94W form. These requests are usually handled immediately, but it can sometimes take up to two or three days, so plan ahead, don’t wait until the last moment if you want to avoid complications. It is not worth the risk of running into problems by postponing the process. The ESTA application website is available in several languages, so it is easier for people from different countries to get this visa.