What ESTA Has To Do With Your USA Trip
ESTA is in its full length is the name by which the automated system launched by the Department of Homeland Security is called, and functions as a means to decide whether a traveler that wants to visit America is qualified enough to do so under the Visa Waiver Program, without posing any security risks nor putting law enforcement in danger.
Being approved by ESTA gives you travel authorization to ride a plane and travel to America under the Visa Waiver Program. It is advised by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that one must apply at a minimum of 72 hours before you travel, but you can submit your application any time you wish to as long as it is before your boarding time, as a response usually is sent back to you a few seconds after submission. Private carriers must be a signatory VWP carrier and you can click here for more on this aspect.
What you have to know about ESTA is that it is not a visa. It cannot replace a U.S. visa as required by law. A U.S. visa serves the purpose for which it is issued and need not the accompaniment of an ESTA. Neither of them come easily nor get approved easily and so does entry to the United States, as approval of an ESTA or a visa will not render you immediate access to the United States
ESTA is not merely optional, it has been required since the twelfth January 2009. Applicants to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must complete fill up a Customs declaration upon arrival in the United States, whether they do or do not have authorization from ESTA, but are not required anymore to complete the I-94W card in green.
Once approved, ESTS applications will remain valid for a duration of two whole years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first, and allow the holder multiple trips to the United States without the need for re-application for another ESTA.
Although there is no set time requirement for how long you must wait before you can visit the country again, you need to leave a considerable amount of time between each trip so as not to alert the CBP Officer and make an impression that you are trying to live in the United States, and also remember that you may only stay for a maximum of 90 days with each trip so make it worth your while!
If your ESTA application already gets approved, yet you are worried about the fact that your passport will expire in under two years, you will still get an ESTA but only one that will be valid until the passport’s expiration date.
Click here for a more elaborate description of all of the requirements of an ESTA.