When considering a holiday in the US, it is important to take know exactly the type of VISA or Authorization that’s required in order to safely travel and not encounter any problems. Besides the passport, you will also require an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). If you do not have this visa, you will not be allowed access in the country.
People flying from the UK to the USA will require an ESTA and even if you are simply passing through the country in order to fly to someplace else the visa will be required.
Eligibility for an ESTA
The criteria for applying for an ESTA are if you are a citizen in the UK or any of the 37 countries which are part of the Visa Waver Program. The second one would be if you do not have a US visitor’s visa. Those who travel to the US for business or pleasure purposes are also eligible for the visa. Also if you have onward bound or return ticket.
Acquiring the ESTA
In order to get an ESTA you will have to fill out an online form and this is the only method available for acquiring one. Once the form has been completed, make sure you keep a note of the provided reference number or perhaps print out the authorization page. Make sure you always use the correct ESTA site when completing your form, there is just one official one. The cost for an ESTA form is £10 which translates to $14.
As of April 2016, it is required of you to have an e-Passport in order to get an ESTA and as such, passports issued after the 26th should have a chip in them. If they do not have this chip, then you should consider updating it at the Passport Office.
Things to consider when applying
It is generally a rule of thumb to have your ESTA sorted before starting preparations for your travel, in other words before you book your flight or accommodation. This will avoid any issues that might rise during your registration for ESTA and will save you plenty of time and money. The ESTA decision can take up to 3 days before it is finalized so make you sure you take plenty before-hand to register. Accommodations can still be booked at the last minute but it’s not always a guarantee.
If you are travelling from the UK, you will be asked for contact details, passport number, expiry date, your departure airport, as well as the flight number and the airline. Also take into consideration that you will also be asked the address where you’ll be staying in the US.
The Visa is available for two year and more information about official esta application can be found on .