So, are you planning to visit the United States? Good! But you need to know a number of things and the most important is that if you are using the VWP or the Visa Waiver Program, you need to have the electronic travel authorization. It was made mandatory in January 12, 2009 for all those who are travelling to USA; either by sea or by air. Moreover, the Visa Waiver Program is applicable on those who are travelling with the electronic passports that are issued from a list of 38 countries. They include Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, and other 33 countries.
According to the new policy that was introduced in 2009, the passports that are issued, by these 38 countries, should be the electronic passports. They must have a digital photograph and an electronic chip so that they can be scanned easily by the scanning devices. On the other hand, if you are travelling under the Visa Waiver Program but you do not have the electronic passport, you will not be allowed to travel. Furthermore, many people get confused by the ESTA and consider it as a visa. The ESTA or the Electronic System for Travel Authorization is just the authorization and the requirement, of the by the government of the United States of America, that is done before traveling. So, you are required to have the ESTA before going to America and it is recommended by the Department of Homeland Security that you get it, at least, 3 days before travelling. Consider it as the prerequisite! Although you will be approved by the ESTA, keep in mind that the government of the USA is going to keep a check on you. It is because if the few past incidents that have made the government cautious and they cannot leave any stone unturned.Moving ahead, you will also have to fulfill some more requirements, while travelling to USA, under the Visa Waiver Program:
- You have to be the official citizen of the country which gives you the VWP
- Your stay must be a short one e.g. for tourism or for the business trip.
- You must have a valid and unexpired passport.
- The airline or the ship company must be approved by the government of the USA.
- Your passport must say that you will leave USA after 3 months.
- You must have the permission granted from the ESTA.
The ESTA is valid for 2 years or when your passport expires (before 2 years). If you already had an ESTA that has been expired, you can submit the application for the renewal of it. You are suggested to do it as soon as possible because the process needs time and you need to have it before 72 hours. So, if your plan to visit USA is near, immediately apply for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Otherwise, you will not be able to make your plan successful.
For more information, you can go to http://electronicesta.com/en/what-is-esta to find the other details about the visa USA.