An ESTA, also Electronic System for Travel Authorization, is an automated system used in the USA to check the eligibility of visitors to travel. The ESTA is used for visitors to visit the USA under the Waiver Program.
The Waiver program entails traveling to the US without needing a visa. This application involves the system taking up some of your biographic data to answer a series of questions. You need to complete this process days or weeks before you travel to ensure that you are approved. You should never make bookings and any reservations until you have your ESTA approved.
Requirements of the ESTA
- You must have an E-passport.
- You must have a valid email address.
- You must have an emergency point of contact phone number and email.
- You must pay the ESTA application fees in full.
How to know your ESTA application was approved?
Once you apply for the ESTA, you should know three types of responses you can get. When you check your ESTA status, the first is Authorization approved; the second is Authorization pending, and the third is travel not authorizes.
If you get the first response, you have been given the green light to travel under the Visa Waiver Program without a visa. So at this point, you can purchase your air ticket and make all your reservations.
Suppose you get the pending response; you will have to stay vigilant in checking the website for any updates within 72 hours to get the final answer. At this point, the solution could either be approved or denied. The officials are still probably doing some extra checks. At this point, do not make any reservations or buy ait tickets,
Lastly, if the response was not approved, the next step is to contact the US Department of States to get more information on applying for a visa to travel to the USA. All hope is not lost; you have to get the visa.
The approval is usually immediately and no longer than 72 hours between Monday to Friday.
How to check your ESTA?
You can always check the validity of your ESTA at any time on the website. You can also call the number of your agent who helped you get it and have them check for you.
Nonetheless, if your approved ESTA has not passed a two-year duration, the ESTA should still be valid and used for travel. Again, when you check for its validity, expect the following responses:
- ESTA application not found- this may be because you have entered the wrong information. Check and redo the check.
- ESTA application expired- this means that the ESTA you had has expired, and you need to apply for another one.
- ESTA application pending means that the application is still under review by the Customs and Border Protection, CBP. Be patient and check again in 72 hours.
- ESTA authorization approved-this means you can go ahead with your travel plans.
- ESTA application not authorized- this means that your application has been reviewed and has been denied.
It is that easy.