ESTA How to Enter the United States

What is the Visa Waiver Program

Categories: What to know
ESTA: For selected countries only | Stay to 90 days
VALIDITY OF ESTA: valid for 2 years
Cost: $21 per person

Documents needed to enter the United States

How to enter the United States: here you can find information on how to request the official Visa Waiver (ESTA) to enter the United States for business or leisure for a stay that does not exceed 90 days.

For all foreign citizens wishing to legally enter & visit the U.S., you will (most likely) need:

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid VISA (or VISA WAIVER such as ESTA)

ESTA is available to foreign citizens (adults and children) of these 40 countriesVISA WAIVER PROGRAM COUNTRIES that are currently in possession of a valid (modern) passport. You will need to first make sure you have your passport in order (i.e.: electronic microchip, readable, digital photos, passport valid for at least 6 months after your travel dates, etc.) If you don't know they type of passport you have, you should check with your home-country authorities to find all the requirements for updated Passports that are accepted to travel internationally and especially to the U.S.

What is the Visa Waiver Program: ESTA

Those holding the correct passport to travel internationally, can use the Visa Waiver Program to enter the US without an actual Visa. The Visa-Waiver system allows you to travel without a visa in the US for up to 90 days.

The application is done online, and once approved, your ESTA will be valid for two years. This means you will be able to use and re-use the valid ESTA for future trips to the United States as long as you stay for less than 90 days. 

ESTA Scams: How to avoid them!

We receive emails on a daily basis on how to apply and obtain the ESTA, but unfortunately often times it is already too late because many have ventured into the wrong websites and have already made unnecessary payments. We cannot stress this enough but you should only use the VERIFIED US GOV WEBSITE.  It is translated in several languages and has an extensive F.A.Q. section answering all your questions. Additionally, they recently came out with a new APP you can download to apply and retrieve your ESTA.

How to apply & how much does the ESTA cost?

The Visa Waiver Program is the system that allows you to travel without a visa to the United States. You simply go online on the official website of the US Government to apply for the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization.)

It's a streamlined application, just follow the prompts, and enter all the requested information (i.e. first and last name, DOB, passport number, mother's and father's full names, etc.). At the end of the application before you submit your request, the system asks you for a payment by credit card of $21 per person –that's it!

Information you will need to complete the application:

  • Valid passport(s) from one of the 40 participating countries.
  • Email address
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Emergency Contact (with phone & email)
  • List any aliases(if any)
  • Global Entry/NEXUS/SENTRI ID number (If applicable)
  • Employer address + phone number
  • Your point of contact in the U.S> - name, address, and phone (Your Hotel info for example)

Payment methods accepted include all major credit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover (JCB or Diners Club only), and PayPal.

In some cases, you may receive your ESTA results almost instantly, or might take up to 48 to 72 hours depending on the system, and if your ESTA should be denied, you would only pay $4 and $17 would be refunded to your credit-card.

Please note that if you didn't receive an instant approval for your ESTA, you will have to go back to the official website and check the status of your ESTA application as they will not send you a confirmation by email once the ESTA has been processed.

To check the status of your ESTA, you will need your passport number + D.O.B. + the ESTA application number, if you do not have it, you can give your country of citizenship along with your passport's issuance and expiration dates.

It is no longer required to have and present a paper copy of your ESTA, however, we always recommend saving the PDF on your mobile device so you can retrieve it easily, if you need to do so.

IMPORTANT: Do not use any other web-site other than the U.S. Official Government one for the ESTA application


DID YOU TRAVEL TO CUBA RECENTLY?  Please note that if you travelled to Cuba after January 12th, 2021, you will not be eligible to apply for ESTA. You will need to contact the U.S. Consulate/Embassy and request a travel visa. Furthermore, if you have a valid ESTA, and you traveled to CUBA after January 12th, 2021, your ESTA is no longer valid and you should apply for a tourist visa.

DISCLAIMERS:  All information, content, and materials available on this page are for general informational purposes only and do not, nor are intended to, cosntitue legal advice. Please note information here included may not constitute the most up-to-date information. This page contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser.

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