The year 2009 had ushered in a new screening system of the U.S. Security services for travellers from Europe and Asia. U.S. officials had been concerned about security threats posed by foreign fighters in Syria who had foreign passports and would naturally not look or sound suspicious at significant entry points. This concern had been heightened since those foreign fighters started radicalizing themselves.
The Homeland Security Secretary was confident in stating that this additional security
screening will not hinder or restrict lawful trade, commerce or tourism in any way. The intent of implementing this screening procedure was to minutely filter out the people who could pose
potential risk to the States.
ESTA does not guarantee unrestricted entry into the
States. It simply implies that a person is eligible to travel to U.S. The final decision is made by the US Customs and Border Protection Officer at the point of entry regarding
People travelling from U.K. and other European nations who fall under the U.S. Visa Waiver Program i.e. those who do not need a visa to enter United States, will need to file an electronic application as an eligibility criteria to enter U.S. Here they will have to provide additional information to be eligible to enter the States.
The following points are significant for every person who travels on ESTA:
One should have Return/Onward tickets on a flight that is scheduled with a major airline’s company that is
registered for ESTA’s.
The duration of stay has been restricted to a maximum of 90 days including places like Mexico, Canada and other
One should not have a record of previous violation of the USA Immigration Law.
There are a total of
38 countries that fall under the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea
are the counties whose citizens are citizens are eligible for a visa-free entry into the United States.
The first and foremost requirement is for the passport to be a machine readable one.
If the passport has been issued after 26th of October, 2005, it should have been a digitally applied photograph.
A biometric passport is a compulsion if it was issued on or after 26th October, 2006. An integrated chip in the passport should be able to store biographic information from the data page.
The mention of British Dependent Territories Citizen, British subject, a British National or overseas citizen or protected Person will need a visa application for travelling to the States. They cannot apply for ESTA.
The attacks of 9/11 had shattered the States and the entire world had felt the ripples for a long time thereafter. The US Department Of Homeland Security introduced ESTA and made it compulsory to avoid exposing the States to undesirable citizens falling under VWP. For a land that welcomes 50 million people a year from the countries that do not need visa applications, it is but natural to implement a security system after being left ravaged and torn by the after-effects of war.
The ESTA is for everybody who doesn’t take a visa application. Even if you are in transit, you would need to fill out a form for ESTA if you want to avoid the hassles and embarrassment of being denied boarding.
The entire procedure is conducted online so for those without access to the web, the only option is to get
someone else apply on your behalf. The reference number needs to be kept a note of and the authorisation page should be kept at hand.
The ESTA needs to be renewed every two years. If the existing authorisation has expired, the only way to renew it is by applying afresh and getting a new reference number.