South Korean citizens can submit their ESTA application online because South Korea participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The program allows South Korean citizens to visit the United States for tourism, business, for medical reasons or short-term study programs (non-credit). The ESTA application system (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) became a requirement of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on January 12, 2009. The ESTA application system is only available for South Korean citizens with machine-readable passports (e-passport) and other Visa Waiver travelers and has greatly simplified travel to the United States. The entire application process is online and operated by the DHS (U.S. Department of Homeland Security).
Approved ESTAs are not visas, and travelers from non-Visa Waiver countries cannot apply for them online. The purpose of the ESTA application system is to allow DHS to pre-screen travelers before they leave their respective countries. U.S.-bound South Korean nationals are recommended to apply at least 72 hours before departure. An approved U.S. Travel Authorization does not guarantee entry, however, is a requirement to travel to the United States by air or sea carrier. Approved applications usually are valid for at least two years.
More About ESTA:
- ESTA is not a visa. It is a pre-authorization to board a ship or airplane going to the USA.
- The purpose of ESTA is to let the U.S. government pre-screen all Visa Waiver travelers before entering the USA.
- Citizens of the 38 Visa Waiver countries entering the USA can apply.
- It is recommended to apply for ESTA at least 72 hours before traveling.
- In the event that your application is denied, you will be required to apply for a B-1 Visitor Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa.
- Approved ESTA applications does not guarantee entry in to the United States.
Do citizens of South Korea need to apply for ESTA?
- Yes, citizens of South Korea need to apply for ESTA before entering the United States.
- Anyone that intend to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program via air or sea.
- South Korean citizens transiting through the United States must also submit an ESTA application and be authorized for transit.
- South Korean children and infants who visit or transit to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
When should South Korean citizens apply for ESTA?
- South Koreans should apply for ESTA and be approved to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program at least 72 hours prior to departure.
- It is recommended to apply before going to the airport to make sure that the application is received and approved.
- In the event of denied applications, applicants must get a regular U.S. Travel Visa (B-1 Visitor Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa).
5 Facts About ESTA
Korean citizens can apply online.
Application takes less than 15 minutes.
Over 99% of applications are approved.
Usually valid for up to two years.
Payment can be made with credit card.