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The main requirements to apply for the ESTA document to enter the USA

If you are thinking of traveling to the United States, you will already know that it is necessary to do a USA ESTA application. This is a document that allows you to enter the country without a visa if you meet a series of requirements.

Today, we tell you what these requirements are and some other aspects you should know about the ESTA.

The 5 requirements to apply for ESTA.

  1. Be a citizen of one of the 38 countries that adhere to the VWP (Visa Waiver Program).
  2. Have a stay in the United States of less than 90 consecutive days.
  3. Traveling to the United States for tourism, business or in transit to other countries.
  4. Have a passport valid for the entire period of stay in the U.S.
  5. Not have travelled to countries such as Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

What exactly is ESTA?

The ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization is an authorization granted by the USA authorities that allows travel to the United States without the need to obtain a traditional Visa. Through the Visa Waiver Program run by the Department of Homeland Security, every citizen of one of the 38 countries participating in the VWP will be able to arrive in the United States by plane or boat without having to apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy.

When do I have to apply for ESTA authorization?

There is no time frame within which ESTA must be processed for travel to the United States. Applications can be submitted at any time prior to departure. However, it is advisable to submit the application at least 72 hours prior to departure. Generally, ESTA approval times are relatively short, ranging from a few minutes to a few hours, but in some cases the times can extend up to 3 days maximum.

In addition, you should know that the ESTA is valid for 2 years from the date of approval. However, the expiration date of the ESTA visa is linked to the expiration date of the passport. If the passport expires before the two years of ESTA validity, the ESTA documentation will not be valid and a new authorization will have to be required. The ESTA visa can be used more times to travel to the U.S. during the validity period without exceeding 90 consecutive days of stay in the U.S. territory.

What type of passport is required to obtain the ESTA visa?

In order to travel to the USA, it is necessary to have a biometric passport, commonly called an electronic passport or E-passports. This is the passport issued by one of the countries that are part of the VWP program since October 2006. In the passport there will be a chip that allows to identify its owner through optical reading.

In addition, you must remember that the ESTA visa is a personal travel document, therefore, also children and infants will have to have their own ESTA travel authorization. They will be separate documents from those of their parents. For this reason, each child or newborn will have to have his or her own passport.

Can the ESTA be extended when the stay in the United States is longer than 90 days?

ESTA gives the possibility to spend in the USA no more than 90 consecutive days. The reason is that ESTA is not an ordinary visa, the period of stay cannot be extended. If you intend to stay in the USA for more than 90 days, it is advisable to apply for an ESTA Tourist Visa also called USA B-2 Visa. This visa is for non-immigrants, with a duration of 6 months, and allows travel to the United States for tourism or other personal reasons and must be applied for at the United States embassy or consulate.

If the purpose of your trip to the United States is for business reasons, with a length of stay of more than 90 days, you may apply for the USA Business Visa, called USA B-1 Visa, a non-immigrant visa, which lasts 6 months and allows you to travel to the United States for business purposes, without receiving wages or salaries from United States sources.

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