Florida Guide > Travelling
Completing ESTA online
As from 12 January 2009, all visitors who wish to travel to the US on the Visa Waiver Program must obtain compulsory travel authorisation through the new ’ Electronic System for Travel Authorisation’ (ESTA), which will automate the US entry procedure, removing the need to fill in forms prior to your arrival.
The system is free of charge and should make travel to the US easier.
Once completed, the travel authorisation issued to each individual will be valid for two years from the date of authorisation, or until your passport expires, whichever date comes first.
Applications to travel to the US must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to your travel date and the submission is made in four easy steps:
1) Complete the online application at the ESTA website
A separate application must be submitted to each visitor, irrespective of age. You will need your passport and travel information to complete the form.
2) submit your application
Before submitting, make sure you check all your details for accuracy. If you have made any mistakes, click the previous button and correct them. Once you have submitted your application, the Department of Homeland Security recommends you print a copy of your application, although you will not be asked to show this at any time.
3) Record you Application Number
As soon as you submit your application you will be given an Application Number, Make a note of this number and keep it safe. You will need this number should you wish to check on the status of your application. You will also need your date of birth and passport number.
4) Await your response
Most people will receive their Application Status immediately. However, there will be occasions when more time may be needed but you should have a response within 72 hours.
There are three possible responses to your application.
1) Authorisation Approved means you are authorised to travel the the USA under the Visa Waiver Program. This however does not guarantee you entry and, as before, Customs still have the right to refuse entry.
2) Travel Not Authorized means you will not be allowed to travel to the USA on the Visa Waiver Program. You may have to obtain a relevant visa and would need to contact the US Department of State for further information.
3) Authorization Pending means you are under review. This response does not necessarily mean they have found negative reasons to turn you down, it just means your application is under review and you will be given a determination within 72 hours.
You do not need final travel plans to complete the online application. At a later date you can update your airline and flight number, the city where you are boarding and your address whilst staying in the USA.
For security reasons, many villa owners will not give out their full address details until closer to their guests travel time, so this information can be updated nearer the time and will not affect your application in anyway.
The only other information you can update online is your email address and telephone number. If at any time within the 2 year authorised travel time you obtain a new passport, you must apply for a new travel authorisation.
There is no fee at the moment to apply for travel authorisation.
The Visa Waiver Program enables foreign national from a list of countries to travel to the USA for business or pleasure and allows them to visit for up to 90 days without the need to obtain a visa.
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