If you are travelling from Australia to the United States this coming year then you need to ensure that you are fully prepared for such a lengthy trip. One of the key things which all Australians must do before they go,is to fill out their ESTA application before they leave, and ensure that they have been approved. This is a visa system which has only been in place since 2009 and if you haven’t visited the U.S. since then, it is important that you understand what this is, why it is important and how you can apply for it. Here then, are all of your ESTA questions answered.
Why Do They Have It?
The short answer is that the ESTA or Electronic Travel System for Travel Authorization, is in place to speed up the process of handing out visas, reducing time at airports and ramping up national security. For Homeland Security, this process means that they can screen all of the visitors who are coming in to their country, before they leave their home. For tourists, this process means that getting through the airport and getting started on your holiday will be a much quicker experience.
Do I Need One?
With the expectation of a few countries around the world, every citizen must get an ESTA approved before they visit the United States.
How Do I Apply?
The application process is actually super simple, as long as you have a method of payment, a valid passport and an email address, you are good to go. Head to the USA ESTA website, fill out your details, fill out some info about your travel history and your purpose for traveling to the United States, and then await your approval.
How Long Does Approval Take?
In most cases, you will receive an instant approval email to your inbox but it is recommended that you wait at least 48 hours for your approval. You will always receive a reply one way or another and even if you aren’t accepted, you can still go to the embassy to question why, if you feel that it is unjust.
How Much Does It Cost?
Your ESTA will cost $11 which is playable online via the ESTA website as you are filling out your application. You cannot complete your application without paying this fee and you will pay this amount regardless of whether you are approved or not.
How Long Does It Last For?
Your ESTA will stay live from the moment that you are approved until 2 years after this date. This is great if you plan on doing multiple trips to the United States in the next couple of years, meaning that you won’t have to keep applying for visas.
When Should I Do It?
The general recommendation is that you apply for your ESTA at least 2 weeks before you go to the United States. Any earlier than this and you will lose time on your ESTA, any later and you won’t leave time to fix any issues if your application is not granted.
Don’t forget this most important detail before you set off for the US.