How to apply for ESTA

While there have been some big changes in U.S. politics this year, for citizens from many countries including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, and 34 others, traveling to the States for a holiday or business is still very easy. You won’t need to obtain a visa from a U.S. embassy, but you can simply apply for the ESTA visa waiver online. ESTA – the Electronic System for Travel Authorization – will allow you to travel to the States an unlimited number of times over the course of two years and you can stay as long as 90 days. Currently only $14USD, it’s cheap and easy. Applying for an ESTA online is also necessary if you’re only entering the U.S. due to a flight layover.

Watch this short video and visit this website made by two university students from Liverpool for an overview of what ESTA is and how to apply for it:

Applying for ESTA online is super easy, just visit this official U.S. government website and enter all the required personal data. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to answer some strange questions, like if you have been convicted of a crime or if you were involved with the Nazi regime during  World War 2.

There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when applying for ESTA. First of all, you’ll need to apply 72 hours before you leave your home country for the U.S. Everything happens electronically from there, so you won’t need to print out the confirmation once you receive it. Just make sure that it is approved before you enter that plane! Secondly, your passport needs to be valid for the entire duration of your stay. If your passport expires during the two years of your ESTA validity, you have to apply again. Also make sure that your passport is an electronic passport with a chip in order to travel to the United States. I don’t know anyone who has been asked, but when arriving in the States you might be ask to show a return flight ticket and/or that you have sufficient travel funds for the duration of your stay.

ESTA application
This infographic gives a quick and comprehensive overview of ESTA.

Applying for ESTA online is definitely much easier and cheaper than having to obtain a visa from an embassy. Once you’ve applied online, you can relax and get ready for your trip. If you’re still unsure on where to visit in this huge country, renting a car and driving along the West Coast on Highway One was one of my highlights while visiting the United States.

Big Sur
Driving the Highway One along California’s coast will lead you through amazing landscapes – like Big Sur.

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