USA: Understanding the Evisa Approval Process

A section of the Grand Canyon at sunset. The peaks cast long shadows into the valleys

Embarking on an adventure to the United States is an exciting prospect that beckons travelers with its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich cultural tapestry. From the bustling streets of New York City to the serene beaches of California, each state has unique experiences to offer. If you’re planning a trip to the U.S., understanding the ESTA approval process is a pivotal step in ensuring a smooth journey. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a requirement for travelers from VWP Countries entering the United States for business, transit or tourism purposes for stays of 90 days or less.

What is ESTA?

The ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It’s not a visa, but a travel authorization that is required for those who do not have a visa when boarding an aircraft or vessel headed towards the U.S. The approval of ESTA provides authorization to travel, not the entitlement to enter the country, which is decided by Customs and Border Protection officers upon arrival.

How to Apply for ESTA?

To ensure your travel plans to the United States are on track, applying for an ESTA should be at the top of your checklist. Here’s the straightforward process:

  1. Fill out our easy-to-use online application form. The application takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to have your passport handy.
  2. Submit & Pay for your application. We accept all payment types. PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay & Credit Card.
  3. Get your ESTA emailed to you within 72 hours. We’ll email you your approved travel authorization and that’s it, you’re ready to go!

If you need your ESTA in a hurry, you can choose from our two expedited processing options. Simply select your add-on at checkout.

ESTA Eligibility Criteria

To avoid any travel hiccups, it’s important to know if you meet the eligibility criteria for an ESTA:

  • You must be a citizen of a country that’s part of the VWP.
  • You plan to stay in the U.S. for 90 days or less.
  • Your purpose of travel should be for business, tourism, or transit.
  • You must have a valid e-passport with an electronic chip.

Meeting these criteria means you’re one step closer to obtaining your travel authorization and embarking on your journey to the United States.

ESTA Application Tips

Filling out the ESTA form is straightforward, but paying attention to details is crucial for a smooth approval process. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure your passport information is entered accurately and matches exactly with your passport.
  • Double-check your personal data for any typos or errors.
  • Provide your current contact information and emergency details.
  • Answer the VWP eligibility questions truthfully; discrepancies can lead to denial.
  • Apply well in advance to account for any unforeseen processing delays.

Understanding the ESTA Approval Timeline

Once you’ve submitted your application, the approval process usually doesn’t take long. However, it’s recommended to apply at least 72 hours before your departure to the U.S. In most cases, applicants receive their ESTA authorization via email within a few hours, though it can take up to the 72-hour window. If you’re pressed for time, expedited processing options are available at checkout for quicker results.

ESTA Validity and Renewal

An approved ESTA is generally valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. With a valid ESTA:

  • You can make multiple visits to the U.S. without reapplying, provided each visit is 90 days or less.
  • It’s important to update your ESTA information before making subsequent trips to the U.S. if there have been changes to your itinerary or visa status.
  • If your passport is renewed, you’ll need to apply for a new ESTA with your new passport details.

Common Reasons for ESTA Denial

A denied ESTA can complicate your travel plans, but understanding common causes for refusal can help you avoid them:

  • Past visa or ESTA denials without subsequent approvals.
  • Discrepancies in your application or eligibility questions.
  • A criminal history that disqualifies you from the VWP.
  • Previously overstayed or violated the terms of admission in the U.S.

If your ESTA application is denied, you may need to apply for a visa to enter the United States, which is a separate and more rigorous process.


Can I travel to the U.S. without an ESTA?

No, if you’re a citizen of a VWP country, you must have an approved ESTA to travel to the United States by air or sea.

How long before my trip should I apply for an ESTA?

It’s best to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before your planned departure to the U.S., although you can apply at any time prior to boarding your flight.

Do children need their own ESTA?

Yes, children of all ages require an individual ESTA regardless of whether they are included in a parent’s passport.

If I have a connecting flight in the U.S., do I need an ESTA?

Yes, even if you’re only transiting through the U.S., you need an approved ESTA.


Preparing for your trip to the United States need not be daunting. By following the detailed ESTA application guidance provided, you can ensure a hassle-free start to your American adventure. Whether you’re experiencing the magic of Disney, the allure of the Grand Canyon, or the bustle of Wall Street, having your ESTA in hand is your key to unlocking the wonders of the USA. Ready to begin the application process? Simply apply here and let your American dream take flight.

Share this...