Meaning ESTA America
For you travel to America you are required to apply for an ESTA or a visa. What is an ESTA? Who can apply for an ESTA? And what is the difference between a ESTA and a visa?
What is an ESTA?
ESTA stands for ‘ Electronic System for Travel Authorisation’. This is an automated electronic travel authorization system that is used to determine if travelers who meet the VWP ( Visa Waiver Program) conditions are allowed to travel to America.
The U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows inhabitants from 38 countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium, to visa-free travel, but with an ESTA, to the United States for business or tourism trips with a length of stay up to 90 days.
The US Government has decided on 12 January 2009 that an ESTA is mandatory for travelers from VWP countries, which do not have a visa for America. It replaces the Green I-94W card that previously had to be filled in.
With an approved ESTA you have permission to travel to the United States. Your airline checks before your departure if you have an ESTA travel authorization. If this is not the case you will not be allowed on the flight. Make sure you request your ESTA on time. We recommend that you apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before your departure. If you need an ESTA in the short term we recommend to apply for an ‘urgent request’. This request is treated as a matter of priority, allowing you to receive your ESTA usually within an hour.
Why an ESTA?
An ESTA is not a visa. If you have a valid visa for America you do not need to apply for an ESTA. An ESTA has a number of advantages over applying for a visa America:
• An ESTA can be requested online. So you don't have to visit the Embassy.
• You will receive your ESTA by email, usually the same day.
• An ESTA is cheap. An ESTA costs only € 29.95
• The application process is simple. You fill out the application form in Dutch, you do the payment and you will receive your ESTA approval by email.
• Your ESTA is valid for 2 years and can be used for multiple trips to the United States.
Who can apply for an ESTA?
If you are traveling to America soon and you want to know if you are qualified for an ESTA? If you meet the following conditions you can apply for an ESTA:
· You have a valid passport of a country under the Visa Waiver Program.
· You currently have no valid visa for America?
· Your length of stay in America is 90 days or less and you can demonstrate this with your return ticket.
· Your journey has a tourist or business purpose.
If you travel from the United States to another country you also need an ESTA. You can choose the transit ESTA. Minor children are required to have their own ESTA to travel to America.