Essential Information You Should Know About ESTA for UK Citizens


Are you thinking of traveling to the USA? Do you know the required documents for your authorization into the country? When traveling to the US, you must provide documents at the entry point to prove authorization to be in the country. Usually, travelers will be required to provide a visa. However, some individuals whose countries are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program will only need an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).        

Are UK Citizens Eligible for the Visa Waiver Program?

Do I Need a visa for USA from UK? This is one of the most popular questions many people will be asking. The good news is that United Kingdom citizens do not necessarily need to apply for a visa to visit the US. This is because United Kingdom citizens are eligible to apply for an ESTA through the Visa Waiver Program. Also, the United Kingdom has been an active member of this program since 1988.

Important Information and Requirements to know about ESTA

  • You must present a valid biometric passport when applying for ESTA
  • Regardless of their age, kids are also required to have their individual ESTA
  • ESTA is only valid for a maximum of 90 days per trip to the US
  • The ESTA remains valid for two years or until the linked passport expires
  • Only travelers arriving by sea or air require this authorization document
  • You can use a single ESTA for multiple trips to the US
  • The document can be used for business, transit, tourism, and medical purposes

What Does an ESTA Mean?

Generally, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization includes a visa-waiving program for citizens of specific countries to travel to the US without a visa. In 2009, the ESTA was used to aid the DHS and CBP in utilizing authorized databases in pre-screening immigrants for terrorists, no-flyers, and criminals. However, if you travel to the US from the UK for a purpose, you must apply for a traditional visa.

An ESTA has many benefits over a traditional visa. Applying for an ESTA for United Kingdom citizens is faster and more straightforward compared to the traditional visa. Typically, the ESTA applicant will receive a response regarding their application within a few minutes or hours.

Nevertheless, it is best for British applicants to submit their application at least 72 hours before their travel date. To apply for the ESTA, UK citizens must only complete a simple online form providing their passport and personal details. Also, you will be required to answer several eligibility questions and then submit the fully completed form for screening by the DHS. If your ESTA application is approved, the document will be electronically linked to your passport automatically.

Can My ESTA Application Be Declined?

It is important to note that your ESTA application can be declined. In such an event, you can apply for a business or tourist visa by completing a D-160 form. Additionally, you will have to interview at the US Embassy either in Edinburgh, London, or US Consulate Generals in Belfast.

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