The USA ESTA is the travel authorization program of the United States government and is made specifically for citizens of countries under the US visa waiver program. If you are traveling to the United States and you are a citizen of Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, or South Korea, applying for ESTA is a must.
If you’re not sure if your country belongs to the US visa waiver program, you can find the full list of eligible countries on the FAQ section of the website we just mentioned.
When your application is approved, you will receive an email containing your ESTA number. Save a copy of it for your arrival.
Before filling out the application form, however, you must have bought a round-trip ticket from a location outside the United States and, of course, you must have a passport that is valid for at least ninety more days after your application date.
Applying for ESTA is not free, however, you would be glad to know that the application fee is cheap. Once you are done with the application, you will only need to pay $4 as authorization charge. When approved, an additional $10 is charged to your credit card. But even with the cheap charges, you can still request a refund for whatever reason. You just need to contact the USA ESTA and tell them your full name, the email associated with your application, as well as the last four digits of the credit card you used.
Even if your ESTA application is approved, it doesn’t automatically mean that you can enter the United States upon landing. At the airport, there is border protection personnel who will make the final decision on whether or not you can enter the country. There is nothing to worry about, though, as border personnel rarely block visitors from visa-less countries unless if there is a very good reason to do so.
Once you enter the United States, you have 90 days to travel around the country before you need to apply for extension or return to the point where you traveled from.
If you are wondering if you can travel to the United States visa-less, please check out the official section of the ESTA. As far as we can tell, some surprise countries in the list are the Czech Republic and Slovakia.