ESTA is a safe alternative that the US introduced to make travel easier.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization is currently offered to citizens within the countries in agreement with the United States user the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Most European countries have adopted the program since they have low-risk citizens in terms of security threats.
To get an ESTA, the applicant must submit their personal information through an online form that prompts them to give out specific details.
The travel authorization ensures its holder can visit the US for business or tourism, granted that each trip lasts less than 90 days.
ESTA usually is valid for two years, after which the user is expected to sign up again.
Throughout the two years, the ESTA is valid, and you can travel multiple times, ensuring you comply with the requirements of being an ESTA holder.
Although the form is easily accessible, the US still guarantees its citizens safety through thorough screening of applications.
Furthermore, the ESTA travel program was designed by the US Department of Homeland Security.
Countries Eligible for the VWP
Currently, they only allow citizens from 40 different countries globally to apply and receive an ESTA.
The Visa Waiver Program is majorly full of European countries.
Of the 44 countries, only four states are yet to join the VWP.
The remaining four, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia, seem to be between talks with the US to make sure their countries enter the VWP. To learn more, visit https://www.estaform.org/.
Benefits of ESTA
- With the ESTA, a visa is not mandatory for citizens in countries under the VWP.
- The applicant can receive an ESTA within hours of giving their details.
- Applying for an ESTA might only take you up to 20 minutes online.
- The duration of a stay can only last a maximum of ninety days.
- The VWP only offers ESTA privileges to citizens traveling for tourism and business.
- The authorization is only applicable to countries that are under the Visa Waiver Program.
Is giving ESTA privileges to European citizens safe?
The United States Customs and Border Protection Division closely monitors the application and offering of ESTA’s. They also analyze any threat the citizens from a specific country could pose to the US.
For instance, Hungary was almost removed from the VWP after reporting an increase in passport fraud.
Although adding more countries to the program could result in more tourism in the US, it understands its security should be its priority.
The addition or removal of countries to the VWP is majorly reliant on security threats that might emerge.
As the US continues to support the Visa Waiver Program, there are talks that they might link it to the USA security network.
Rebranding the program and focusing on its activities as a part of America’s security framework ensures that the route does not become an easier way of fiving threats access.
With time, there might be significant changes to the Visa Waiver program as the Homeland Security authorities continue to analyze the current program’s situation.