Simply put, ESTA is an authorization system that’s online used to determine whether an individual is eligible to travel to the US without Visa.
In the past, anyone willing to visit the United States had to first fill out a green l-94W form during their flight and risk the immigration department not allowing them to enter upon arrival. As you can see, ESTA is an effective way to know in advance whether you qualify for entry. ESTA ideally prevents you from spending too much on flights and booking hotels, only to discover that you cannot be allowed to enter the country upon arrival.
How To Apply for ESTA
ESTA application is quite easy and straightforward and you do not need a lawyer for assistance. All you need to do is head to be the ESTA website and answer the questions, a process that will take you at most 5 minutes. You will get an instant notification regarding your eligibility, and if it needs further checking, expect the process to take up to 72 hours.
If you do not have access to the internet, you can find someone who does and who will assist you to apply online. Steer clear of third party websites as they will try to charge you money for fake forms. Always use the official ESTA website only.
Once you are approved, you may want to print the confirmation page and note down the reference number for presentation purpose at the US border. If you lose the reference number, however, you don’t have to fret as you can easily retrieve it on the official ESTA website by following simple instructions.
The cost of ESTA is usually $14, 4 dollars of which go towards the administration and is not refundable even if you are not eligible. The remaining 10 dollars goes to US tourism department and payment is only done through Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express.