Common Mistakes South Korean Travelers Make When Applying for a USA Visa

The prospect of traveling to the United States is a thrilling adventure. If you’re from South Korea, you might know that the US boasts a tapestry of cultural experiences and iconic landmarks, from the bustling streets of Manhattan to the rolling hills of San Francisco, and the diverse heritage found in each corner. But before you embark on your journey, it’s imperative to ensure the administrative aspects of your trip are seamless, starting with your US visa application process.

South Korean nationals benefit from being part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), allowing for easier travel to the US for tourism, business, transit, and short-term medical treatment. Instead of a conventional visa, South Koreans can obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Though the process may seem straightforward, common mistakes can occur that could lead to unnecessary delays or even denial of your travel authorization. Let’s go over these typical pitfalls so you can avoid them.

Overlooking ESTA Validity and Passport Expiration

One common mistake is neglecting to check the validity of your passport and your ESTA. An ESTA is generally valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. Ensure your passport has at least six months of validity from your planned departure date from the US.

Incorrect Information in Application Form

Accuracy is crucial when filling out your online application form. Simple errors such as typos in your name, passport number, or date of birth can result in denial of your ESTA. Double-check every entry and make sure they match the details on your passport exactly.

Assuming Instant Approval

While the ESTA process is efficient, it’s essential to apply well in advance of your travel date. Approvals can take up to 72 hours, though they are typically much quicker. Avoid the misconception that authorization is instantaneous—apply at least 72 hours before your travel.

Not Using the Correct Payment Method

During the application process, having the right payment method ready is key. We accept all payment types including PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Credit Card. Ensure that your selected payment method is valid and operational to avoid any disruptions during the transaction.

Failing to Update Changes in Circumstances

If your circumstances change after receiving your ESTA, such as a new job or a change in your name due to marriage, you need to update your ESTA information accordingly. Failing to do so can lead to complications at the border.

Oversight of the Requirement for Separate Applications for Family Members

Each traveler, including infants and children, must have their own ESTA. A common error is assuming one ESTA can cover an entire family. Make sure to submit individual applications for each family member traveling with you.

Choosing Expedited Processing Only When Necessary

If you require your ESTA urgently, expedited processing options are available. However, these should only be chosen if necessary due to the additional cost. Plan ahead to save both time and money.

FAQs on Applying for an ESTA as a South Korean National

Q: How long is my ESTA valid for?

A: An ESTA is valid for two years or until your passport expires.

Q: Can I use my ESTA for multiple entries into the US?

A: Yes, an ESTA allows for multiple entries into the US.

Q: What should I do if I make a mistake on my ESTA application?

A: If you realize you’ve made a mistake after submitting your ESTA application, you may need to submit a new application. For most simple errors, such as a misspelled name, a new application is required. However, for certain errors, updates are possible. Check the details carefully before submission to avoid this issue.

Q: How early do I need to apply for an ESTA?

A: It’s recommended to apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before your travel date, though earlier is preferable.

Q: Do children need an ESTA?

A: Yes, all travelers, regardless of age, require their own ESTA.


In summary, obtaining an ESTA as a South Korean national is a relatively smooth process, but it’s not without potential snags. By understanding and avoiding the common mistakes outlined above, you’ll be on your way to a hassle-free entry into the US. For a streamlined experience, apply here and ensure that all your information is accurate, allowing you to focus on the exciting moments ahead in your American adventure.

At eVisaUS, we are dedicated to helping South Korean travelers secure their travel authorization with minimal stress. For more information on the VWP or assistance with your ESTA, visit our VWP Countries page.

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