ESTA: What is it and how to get it

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

You are eligible for ESTA if:

  • You are a citizen or eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country.
  • You are currently not in possession of a visitor’s visa.
  • Your travel is for 90 days or less.
  • You plan to travel to the United States for business or pleasure.
  • You want to apply for a new authorization for one person or a group of applications for two or more persons.

Procedure for ESTA

To apply for ESTA you need:

  • A valid passport from a Visa Waiver Program country
  • A valid credit card (MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover (JCB, Diners Club)) or PayPal to pay the US $14 per application.
  • Your contact information.
  • Your most recent employment information, if applicable.

The procedure for obtaining ESTA authorization for the United States can be done over the internet. You simply have to go to the official ESTA website and proceed to fill out the form.

The questionnaire will have simple and direct questions, such as the nationality and passport of the interested party (you must belong to a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program) the reason for the trip (tourism, business, transit…) length of stay (the maximum will be 90 days) and show that you have a reservation for the return trip.

You can use the ESTA website to:

  • Check your ESTA Status.
  • Review your completed application.
  • Update unpaid or approved application.
  • Submit payment (within 7 days of applying).
  • View payment receipt.

How much does ESTA cost

Once you complete the answers to the questionnaire, it is important to know that this ESTA is not free, but has a cost. This cost may vary depending on several circumstances but it is always divided into two distinct parts.

First, a part of the fee that goes to the United States itself, which is the receiving country and the other part to defray the costs of managing the processing of the ESTA itself.

ESTA: What is it and how to get it 1

It is important to note that applications may be rejected for any reason. In the event that the application has been rejected, some of the money is returned, the bit that goes to the United States, however, the price paid for the processing cost will have been lost since the processing, whether successful or not, has been done.


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