ESTA US Visa (Electronic System for Travel Authorization)

ESTA is a required travel authorization for travelers visiting United States for business, tourism or transit purposes. This online process for ESTA for United States was implemented from January 2009 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, with the goal of enabling any of the future eligible travelers to apply for an ESTA to United States.

1. Complete ESTA Visa application

2. Receive ESTA Visa by email

3. Enter United States

What is ESTA for United States?

The ESTA USA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It is an official document issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that enables citizens and nationals from the 39 countries to enter the United States for tourism, transit or business purposes. ESTA is a mandatory travel authorization for travelers visiting the United States either by Sea or Air for visits under 90 days.

The ESTA US Visa works as a Visa Waiver document for foreign nationals from certain eligible Visa Exempt countries who can travel to United States without having to obtain a Visa from U.S. Embassy or Consulate but instead visit the United States of America on the ESTA which can be applied for and obtained online.

The ESTA for United States performs the same function as the U.S. Visa but it is much more easily obtained and the process is faster too. The ESTA US visa waiver is an automated program that gathers a traveler’s passport details before their departure to the US. The ESTA visa waiver or the USA was made available from January 2009.

ESTA is valid for upto 2 (two) years from the date of issue or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. The validity period of your ESTA is different than the duration of stay. While ESTA is valid for 2 years, you duration cannot exceed 90 days. You may enter United States at any time within the validity period.

It is quick process which requires you filling an ESTA US Visa Application Form online, this can be as little as ten (10) minutes to complete. ESTA US Visa is issued after the application form has been successfully completed and fee paid by the applicant online.

US Customs and Border Protection Officers United States C.B.P (Customs and Border Protection) officer

Who can apply for ESTA for United States?

Passport holders of following nationalities seeking to enter United States for purposes for tourism, transit or business must apply for the ESTA US Visa and are exempted from obtaining tradition/paper Visa to travel to the Unites States.

Citizens of Canada need only their Canadian Passports to travel to United States. Canadian Permanent Residents, however, may need to apply ESTA US Visa unless they are already a citizen of one of the below countries.

Types of ESTA US Visa

The US ESTA has three types, or in other words, you can apply for the ESTA US Visa when the purpose of your visit to the country is any one of the following:

  • Transit or layover when you have to stop at a US airport or city for a brief period of time till your next flight to your final destination.
  • Tourism, sightseeing, visiting family or friends, coming to United States on a school trip, or attending a short course of study that does not award any credits.
  • For business purposes, including business meetings, business, professional, scientific, or educational conference or convention, or for the settling of the affairs of an estate.

Information required for ESTA US Visa

ESTA US Visa applicants will need to provide the following information at the time of filling out online US ESTA Application Form:

  • Personal information like name, place of birth, date of birth
  • Passport number, date of issue, date of expiry
  • Contact information such as address and email
  • Employment details
  • Parent details

Before you apply for ESTA USA Visa

Travelers who intend to apply online for ESTA US Visa must fulfil the following conditions:

A Valid passport for travel

The applicant’s passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the departure date, the date when you leave United States.

There should also be a blank page on the passport so that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer can stamp your passport.

Your ESTA for United States, if approved, will be linked to your valid Passport, so you are also required to have a valid Passport, which can be either an Ordinary Passport, or an Official, Diplomatic, or Service Passport, all issued by eligible countries.

A valid Email ID

The applicant will receive ESTA USA Visa by email, therefore a valid Email ID is required to receive US ESTA. The form can be completed by the visitors intending to arrive by clicking here US ESTA application form.

Method of Payment

Since the ESTA USA Visa application form is only available online, without a paper equivalent, a valid credit/debit card or PayPal account is required.

Applying for the ESTA US Visa

Eligible Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to United States need to apply for the ESTA for US online. The entire process is web-based, from application, payment, and submission to getting notified of the result of the application. The applicant will have to fill the ESTA US Visa Application form with relevant details, including contact details, employment details, passport details, and other background information such as health and criminal record. All persons traveling to United States, regardless of their age, will have to fill this form. Once filled, the applicant will have to make the ESTA application payment using a credit or debit card or a PayPal account and then submit the application. Most decisions are reached within 48 hours and the applicant is notified via email but some cases may take a few days or a week to process. It’s best to apply for the ESTA for United States as soon as you have finalised your travel plans and no later than 72 hours before your scheduled entry into United States . You will be notified of the final decision by email and in case your application is not approved you might try applying for the United States Visa at your nearest US embassy or consulate.

How long does ESTA USA Visa application take to process

It is advisable to apply for US ESTA at least 72 hours before you plan to enter the country.

Validity of the ESTA USA Visa

The ESTA for United States is valid for a max period of two (2) years from the date of its issue or lesser if the Passport that it is electronically linked to expires before the two (2) years. The ESTA allows you to stay in United States for the maximum of 90 days at a time but you can use it to visit the country repeatedly within the period of its validity. However, the actual duration you would be allowed to stay in for at a time would be decided by the border officials depending upon your purpose of visit and will be stamped on your Passport.

Entry into United States

The ESTA for United States is required so that you can board a flight to United States as without it you cannot get on any US bound flight. However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P) or the U.S. border officials can deny you entry at the airport even if you are an approved ESTA US Visa holder

  • if at the time of entry you do not have all your documents, such as your passport, in order, which will be checked by the border officials
  • if you pose any health or financial risk
  • if you have previous criminal/terrorist history or previous immigration issues

If you have ready all the documents required for the ESTA US Visa and meet all eligibility conditions for the ESTA for United States, then you should be able to quite easily apply online for the Canada eTA whose application form is quite simple and straightforward. If you require any clarifications read ESTA US Visa Application Process guide or contact our helpdesk for support and guidance.

Documents that the US ESTA holder may be asked at the United States border

Means of supporting themselves

The applicant may be asked to provide evidence that they can financially support and sustain themselves during their stay in United States.

Onward/return flight ticket.

The applicant may be required to show that they intend to leave United States after the purpose of trip for which ESTA US Visa was applied is over.

If the applicant does not have an onward ticket, they may provide the proof of funds and ability to buy a ticket in the future.

Benefits of Applying Online


Services Embassy Online
24 / 365 Online Application.
No time limit.
Application revision and correction by visa experts before submission.
Simplified application process.
Correction of missing or incorrect information.
Privacy protection and safe form.
Verification and validation of additional required information.
Support and Assistance 24/7 by E-mail.
Email Recovery of your ESTA Visa in case of loss.
Service Refund if your ESTA Visa is refused.
No additional Bank transaction charges of 2.5%.