Visa or ESTA: Navigating USA Travel Requirements for Slovak Citizens

Embarking on a journey to the United States is an exciting experience, filled with iconic landmarks, diverse cultures, and vast natural beauty to explore. Whether you’re planning to gaze at the grandeur of the Statue of Liberty, bask in the Hollywood limelight, or trek through the scenic trails of Yellowstone, understanding your travel authorization requirements is key to a smooth adventure. For Slovak travelers, determining whether an ESTA or a visa is needed for this trip is an important part of the planning process.

Slovakia is one of the countries that is a part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which generally allows its citizens to travel to the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without needing to obtain a visa. Instead, travelers can apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which is a much more streamlined and easy-to-acquire travel authorization as compared to a visa. This program offers great benefits in terms of time and cost savings, but it’s essential to understand when an ESTA is sufficient and when a visa might still be needed.

Understanding the ESTA for Slovak Travelers

The ESTA was introduced to enhance the security of travel to the United States under the VWP and to make the process of applying for permission to travel more efficient. Slovak citizens can take advantage of this program for short trips for tourism, business meetings, and even transit to other countries. Here’s what you need to know about applying for an ESTA:

  • Eligibility: You must be a citizen of a VWP country like Slovakia and in possession of a passport with an electronic chip.
  • Application Process: Completing the application form is straightforward and should take about 10 minutes. Be prepared to have your passport handy.
  • Payment and Submission: Once you have filled out the form, you can submit it and make a payment using various methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Credit Card.
  • Approval and Receipt: You’ll receive your ESTA via email within 72 hours, ready for your travels.

For those who need their ESTA sooner, expedited processing options are available during checkout.

When Is a Visa Necessary?

Despite the convenience of the ESTA, there are certain circumstances in which a visa is necessary. As a Slovak traveler, you will require a visa for the USA if:

  • You plan to stay in the United States for more than 90 days.
  • Your purpose of visit is other than business or tourism, such as employment or study.
  • You have been previously denied entry into the U.S or have been denied a visa or ESTA.
  • Your passport does not have a digital chip.

If any of these conditions apply to you, then applying for the appropriate visa, whether it’s a B-1/B-2 visa for business and tourism or a specific work or student visa, is necessary. This process is more complex and requires an application to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of residence or nationality.

FAQs for Slovak Citizens About ESTA and U.S. Visas

Do I need an ESTA for every trip to the U.S.?

Yes, an ESTA is required for each entry into the United States for short stays. However, an ESTA is generally valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first, and allows for multiple entries during that time.

What if my travel plans change after I have obtained an ESTA?

If you get a new passport or change your name, gender, or country of citizenship, you will be required to apply for a new ESTA. Minor changes to itinerary can usually be updated on an existing ESTA.

How much time should I allow for ESTA approval?

It’s advisable to apply for an ESTA as soon as possible, but not less than 72 hours before your travel date to allow for processing. Remember, expedited processing is available for those in a hurry.

Can an ESTA be revoked?

Yes, an ESTA can be revoked if you no longer meet the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program or if your circumstances change.


For Slovak citizens keen on exploring the United States, understanding the difference between an ESTA and a visa is crucial. With the ease of the ESTA process, most travelers from Slovakia will find that it meets their needs for visits of up to 90 days for business or pleasure. Start your journey with us, apply for an ESTA with our simple online process, and soon you’ll be taking off towards your American adventure!

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