What is ESTA?
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. ESTA is an
online application system
developed by the United States government to pre-screen travelers before they
are allow to board an airplane or ship bound for the United States. Starting on
January 12, 2009, any person entering the United States under the visa waiver
program is required to hold an approved ESTA Travel Authorization.
Who Needs to Apply for ESTA?
All travelers entering the United States (by air or sea) under the visa waiver
program are required to hold a valid ESTA travel authorization. The purpose of
ESTA is to allow DHS to
pre-screen all Visa Waiver Travelers before they leave their respective
countries. U.S.-bound travelers are recommended to apply for a Travel
Authorization at least 72 hours prior to departure.
What is the Visa Waiver Program?
The visa waiver program is a U.S. government program that enables citizens and
nationals from the 37 Visa Waiver Countries
to enter the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days
without obtaining a visa. The advantage of entering the United States under the
visa waiver program is that you can travel to the United States on short notice
without obtaining a visa.