Whether you are traveling to the US to sample dishes in the best French restaurant in New York, or you are attending a quick business symposium, you will need to deal with the hassle of visa processing. US visa rules have become some of the most stringent in the recent years which makes it a bit troublesome for anyone needing to travel to the US on short notice.
Of course this is expected considering this is the most powerful country in the world and one considered a land of opportunities for many across the globe. If you are planning to visit the U.S from any corner of the globe you have to be ready to deal with some of the most stringent rules in the world. In fact things have become even tougher due to terrorist threats over the last few decades.
However, there exists the ESTA visa waiver program that allows citizens of a select number of countries to enter the US without a visa for stays under 90 days.
Qualifying for ESTA Visa Waiver
What is ESTA? This stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization which was launched in on January 12, 2009 to make the visa waiver program safer. It is run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is used to pre-screen all travelers to the U.S who enjoy exemptions under the visa waiver program. Under the visa waiver program (VWP) citizen of these select countries are privileged to enter the U.S without having to go through the rigorous process of getting a visa albeit only for a temporary business or leisure visit up to 90 days.
If you want to go to the U.S on a short notice, going through the visa process might be impossible. This is one reason the ESTA application is very important both for business travelers and anyone else.
This system makes a rapid assessment of persons intending to enter the US on whether they need a visa or not. This system is used to determine your eligibility to enter the U.S if you belong to a visa waiver country. If you are a citizen of the following countries, you can apply for ESTA visa waiver.
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Applying for ESTA Visa Waiver
It is fairly easy and straightforward to apply for the ESTA visa waiver program. You simply log onto to the ESTA website maintained by the US Customs and Border Patrol agency, fill in the details and get a rapid answer to your application in less than 1 minute.
You will need your passport and details on your travel plans. The following cases are allowed for ESTA visa waiver.
Any tourism stay under 90 days is allowed. The places you can visit are not restricted.
- Medical visit
If you need quick medical attention, the ESTA waiver allows for rapid entry into the US for medical purposes
Business people coming to the US for short stays will find this visa waiver more convenient than a full visa application.
However, some situations will require that you visit the nearest US embassy or consulate. These include:
- Work stays
If you are traveling to the US for purposes of work for which you will be compensated, this has to be shown in a visa relevant to this purpose.
A visa suitable for a marriage arrangement has to be obtained from the onset so that papers for residency are processed easier
If you are immigrating to the US, the ESTA waiver will not cover you. A Green card will be the better option.
Whatever the reason for traveling to the U.S on short notice, you can now do this easily through the ESTA visa waiver.