Applying for ESTA USA: everything you need to know

If you're entering the U.S. or just passing through the country, you may be wondering if you need a visa or an ESTA and if you're eligible to get one. But don't worry, we have your back! In this blog article, we'll explain what an ESTA is, if you need it, what the requirements are, how to get it, and more details. Everything you need to know you can find here!

What is an ESTA?

ESTA (also known as ESTA USA) stands for "Electronic System for Travel Authorization" and is a digital travel authorization for the United States. It allows you to travel there without a visa. This also applies to transit through the USA.

This type of authorization is a security measure introduced by US Customs and Border Protection. This way, all incoming visitors can be screened in advance and undesirable travelers can be discouraged from coming to the U.S.

Is ESTA a visa?

No, ESTA is not a visa, even though it is sometimes called an ESTA visa. People traveling with a valid visa do not need to apply for ESTA.

Who needs an ESTA?

ESTA USA is required if you are planning a business trip, tourist visit or transit through the USA. Even underage children must have their own ESTA. You don't need it if you have a US visa or a US passport. While you are in the US with an ESTA you are not allowed to work for an American employer, but you can work from the US if your business is outside the US. For example, if you want to work for a company in Germany while traveling.

An ESTA is not applicable if you want to study in the United States, invest in American companies or work as a journalist.

What are the requirements for ESTA?

  • you have a passport from an eligible country
  • you do not currently hold a visitor visa for the USA
  • you plan to visit the U.S. for 90 days or less
  • you intend to visit the U.S. for business or tourism purposes
  • you have no criminal record

How long is an ESTA valid?

An ESTA is valid for two years from the date of issuance (unless your passport expires earlier) and you may enter the U.S. an unlimited number of times during that period.

How long you can stay in the USA with an ESTA?

each stay in the United States is limited to 90 days at a time. Within this period you are also allowed to travel to Mexico, the Caribbean Islands and Canada. If you want to stay longer than 3 months, you have to apply for and get a visa before your trip. When your passport expires, your ESTA expires as well.

How long is an ESTA valid?

Yes, there are.

You must prove upon entry that you plan to leave the U.S. in the near future by presenting a transit or return ticket.
You must apply for an ESTA if you plan to travel to Alaska, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the Northern Mariana Islands.

Even if you have a valid ESTA or U.S. visa, you may be denied entry to the U.S. at any time by Homeland Security if you are suspected of endangering public order and safety Travelers who enter the U.S. after the 10. have traveled to Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya or Somalia on March 2011 or have ever held citizenship of any of these countries are not eligible for an ESTA.

To apply for an ESTA, you will need to present a number of documents:

  • valid passport
  • completed application form

How long does it take for my ESTA application to be processed??

An ESTA application is usually processed within 72 hours (three days) after it has been submitted in full. Therefore, it is important that you submit your ESTA application as soon as you decide to travel to the USA.

How to apply for an ESTA?

You can apply for an ESTA on your own via the official ESTA website of the USA. For this you have to fill out the necessary documents yourself.

If you want to be on the safe side, you can also have the ESTA application completed by external service providers. The advantage is that these providers know exactly how an ESTA application has to be filled out. You can get an ESTA application from ESTA-Online for ca. 40€ to fill out. It could not be simpler. We wish you a lot of fun in the USA!

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