Is the ESTA application complicated? How does it work?

For many people contemplating travel to the United States, the thought of applying for ESTA approval puts them off. With ESTA approval being relatively easy to get, however, it really should not panic you that much. Especially as it is easy to apply for, cheap and does not take long to get approval at all.

How much does the process cost? — When the ESTA approval process first kicked off, it was free for anyone that applied. Nowadays, the U.S. government charges $14 to apply for ESTA as they want to make sure all their processing costs are covered.

As this ESTA fee is still only a fraction of what you would have to pay if you needed to apply for a visa, most people do not complain about the cost.

How long does the application take to do? — A typical ESTA application can be completed in just a few minutes, but must be done on the Internet. It is all done online, and only needs basic information from you including your passport number, your flight dates and times, the address of any places you will be staying in the U.S., and the address of your employer back home. Once you have all this information, it is fast to submit an ESTA application online.

How do you pay for it? — The ESTA program accepts credit cards, so it is very easy to pay for it online. You must get your payment approved before your ESTA application will go through.

How long does it take the ESTA program to approve you? — Another great thing about the ESTA program is how quickly you will get approval. For most people, that approval comes in less than 24 hours if they apply on a weekday. Application over a weekend will usually mean you receive approval on the Monday after you applied.

What happens if you are rejected? — If you receive a rejection from the ESTA program, that means there is something in your past that is causing the U.S. government to red flag your application. You can either look into this yourself and then apply again with a special note on the application as to the circumstances behind the red flag issue.

You can also apply for a regular visa for admittance into the U.S. This will allow the American government to do a more in-depth look into your background, and may result in the issue no longer being an issue with a visa.

You could also contact a U.S. embassy in your country, and find out if they have anymore information about why you were rejected.

How long can you use an ESTA approval? — Once you receive an ESTA approval, you can then enter and exit the United States as often as you like for a period of two years. The only other caveat to that entry is that it can not be for any longer than 90 days at a time. You could also be denied entry again if you go backwards and forwards too often.