Top things to know about the ESTA Visa

Top things to know about the ESTA visa for those who want to travel to the United States

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If you’re planning to travel to the United States, you are going to need a special electronic visa called ESTA. ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and it can be obtained by submitting an application at.  Here, we are going to go more in-depth about what the ESTA means, how it works and what you should know about it if you plan on traveling to the United States.

Universally mandatory

Every person that wants to travel to the United States needs to have this visa, so in case you were wondering if this requirement also applies to you, the answer is most likely “yes”. While there are other forms of visas that you might have or require, you can’t get in the US without your ESTA visa.

Anyone can apply

The application takes a short amount of time and you will be able to send it for review in just a few minutes from starting. It contains questions about your personal life, mostly things that have to do with your criminal record but also more general stuff like what airline company you are going to fly with for your trip to the US.

(Psst – Looking for a cheap flight to the US? Then this post will help you find one!)

You can apply for yourself as well as for other people, if they can’t do it on their own. Just make sure that you use their information when submitting their form.

Quick response

It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days before you find out the response to your application. While it’s safer to prepare for the worse and assume it will take a couple of days, there are very big chances that you will receive your response just a few minutes after sending out your application.


The application will cost you a total of $14, but only $4 actually represents the cost of the ESTA form application. The other $10 will be used to support US tourism, which means that if your application isn’t approved, you will get that money back. However, the $4 will not be refunded, even if you are not approved.

Different responses

There are multiple responses that you can expect when it comes to your ESTA application. Here are all the possible outcomes that you should take into account:

  • Approved – This means that your application has been approved and you are not allowed to travel to the United States
  • Rejected – This means that you have not been approved and that you are not able to travel to the United States currently
  • Pending – This response means that your application will take longer to sort out as officials are still investigating your case to see if you are eligible to enter the US

 Expiration and renewal 

Your ESTA visa will be valid for a total of two years. After this period of time passes, your visa will expire. The good news is that you will have the possibility of renewing your visa, so that you may continue your US travels. During the time the visa is active, you can visit the US multiple times, and each visit can last up to 90 days.

Headed to the US?

Then take a look at our awesome guides to backpacking Boston and camping in Big Sur!

1 Comment

  • Thanks, Aiden, for sharing this wonderful tips. I and my family went to the USA next month for 10 days as a traveller from the UK. I heard the ESTA and already filled up and submitted. It is in the processing way. Hope, get it soon and visit USA.

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