If you want to visit the United States from certain other countries, you will need a visa, or you will need to be traveling from a country with a visa waiver program with the USA. However, even if you are coming from a country participating in the visa waiver program, that doesn’t mean you can just get on a plane and arrive in the country.
Instead, you will need to submit an ESTA application. ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and it’s a way to apply for a visa waiver. A visa waiver is quicker and easier to get than a typical visa.
However, a visa waiver under ESTA will only be granted if you meet certain conditions. You should check your eligibility for a visa waiver before you fill out an ESTA application. For example, if your travel plans involve staying in the United States for more than 90 days, you are ineligible for a visa waiver.
The most important thing to verify before you fill out an ESTA application is that you are from an approved visa-waiver country. You can find this information on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
Everyone who travels to the United States under the visa waiver program is required to have some form of travel authorization. This includes non-ticketed infants, who even without a visa are still required to have a visa exemption filed. A third-party application can be made on their behalf, in the case of a minor child or other situation where someone cannot fill out their own application.
Basically, fill out an ESTA application before you finalize your American travel plans. The last thing you want to have happen is to have your visa waiver denied just before you are supposed to get on a plane. That would ruin your vacation plans like nothing else!