Going to the US on a holiday?
Then chances are you need to fill in an ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The ESTA program is run by Department of Homeland Security’s Custom and Border Protection Service.
Who needs to apply for an ESTA?
Obtaining an ESTA grants you legal permission to enter the USA. It is a requirement for every non-citizen entering the United States to have a valid visa unless they are a Green Card holder. The ESTA (or visa waiver) application process is required if you do not have a Green Card or another valid US Visa. The process is straight forward and inexpensive. The cost is $12 or €14 (varies depending on exchange rate).
How far in advance do I need to apply for the visa waiver/ ESTA?
In the past, you generally could apply for an ESTA on the day of travel. This is no longer the case. The official ESTA application website advises that anyone who is from one of the participating Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries (click here to view the countries eligible for travel under the VWP/ ESTA program) to apply for an ESTA at the time of booking their trip and no later than 72 hours prior to departure.
The sooner you apply the better, that way if you ESTA application is denied you can reach out to one of our office's attorneys for professional assistance. Our office provides assistance to people who are looking to travel and have had their ESTA / VWP application denied. If this happens to you contact our office ASAP and request to speak with an attorney.
How to avoid ESTA scams?
Regrettably ESTA scamming companies are on the rise, overcharging unsuspecting customers for their services. These are some examples of common complaints with the recent surge in online scammers. A common complaint is bumping up the fee with a processing charge. One lady reported to the thejournal.ie
After submitting all my parents’ details I was charged $89 (€80) instead of the regular $14 (€12). Closer reading of the fine print detailed a $75 (€67) processing fee.
While some websites have been reported to charge as much as 10 times the €13 or $14 fee. It is vital to understand that the process of applying for a Visa Waiver is simple and more often than not you can do this easily yourself online.
Simple Step- by-Step Guide to Applying Visa Waiver/ESTA
Our site contains a step-by-step guide from Attorney Caro Kinsella - explaining how to apply your Visa Waiver / ESTA. Caro also explains why your visa waiver could be denied at the airport and what to do next? Click here to view the guide and learn more about the ESTA application process.