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How to Travel to USA with ESTA

 

The beauty of Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountains. Movie stars in Los Angeles. Historic monuments in Washington D.C. The fame of New York City. There are so many world famous attractions in the United States. From west to east, north to south, there are thing to see and do for everyone. It’s truly a one of a kind destination. But, traveling to the US isn’t that simple. Before planning your holiday in the United States, you might want to check your requirement for visitor’s visa. I have to admit, it has not been the easiest place to travel for some nationalities, including Republic of Korea. But thankfully, the process got a bit easier since 2009, thanks to Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) policy. This is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The following 38 countries have been accepted into the Visa Waiver Program.

 

Now the citizens of the countries that have VWP don’t need to apply for a visitor’s visa, but now they can travel with the approved ESTA, which is valid for two years or until the passport expires (whichever comes first). It allows you to travel and stay for business, tourism, medical treatment, attending a scientific, an educational, a professional, or a business convention/conference, or similar reasons. Study, employment, seeking for permanent residency, or similar reasons are not permitted to travel via ESTA. Traveling by ESTA comes with a strict rule: you may only stay for up to 90 days at a time. Additionally, there should be a reasonable amount of time between visits. An approved ESTA does not guarantee entry into the country. The Customs have a right to question and deny your entry if they suspect you’re trying to live or work in the US. However, there is no set requirement for how long you must wait between visits.

72 hours or more

It’s recommended to apply at least 72 hours before the boarding, but anytime before the departure would be acceptable.

Fly or cruise

You must be arriving on an air or sea carrier. It’s also required to have a return ticket traveling outside of the United States within 90 days.

Canada, Mexico, and US Virgin Islands don’t count

If you’re planning to come back to the US in the future, don’t plan on a ‘visa run’. The simple trick that works well in most of Southeast Asia countries doesn’t work here. If you are traveling to the United States under the VWP, after visiting Canada, Mexico, or a nearby island, you’ll generally be readmitted to the United States under the VWP for the remainder of the original 90 days granted upon your initial arrival in the United States. You can travel to the US Virgin Islands without the need for a visa. In case of visiting these countries during your stay in the US, your total stay must be 90 days or less, including the short trip.

Extension

If you’re traveling with the Visa Waiver Program, it’s not allowed to extend your stay in the United States. In this case, you have to go through the official immigration process.

There are rules to keep, but don’t discourage to plan your holiday in the United States. It’s certainly an exciting destination, whether you like nature or city life.

#Disclosure: estas.net is a private company and does not have an affiliation with any agency. They offer a value-added service that provides assistance and support for US ESTA process. A full refund, including any and all government fees, will occur if you are denied travel authorization through the service.

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

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