How long does it take to obtain ESTA to go to the USA?

Are you going to the USA for a tourist or business trip? Or maybe you are just going to transit through the United States of America to your final destination and just realized that you need an ESTA authorization in that case as well. How long does it take to obtain ESTA and how do I apply for authorization? Answers in detail in this article.

ESTA application deadlines: what the American administration says

On the official website of the American government, it is stipulated that the ESTA application must be made at least 72 hours before departure. In practice, the time required to obtain ESTA is generally shorter.

A late response may indicate that further checks are needed on you. These checks may mean that you are not eligible for an ESTA to travel to the United States. The procedure to obtain this document consists in filling out the ESTA form online, on the government website or through the services of a private service provider like our partner.

The answer is usually within a short time. Note that the U.S. government does not bother to inform you of the progress of your application online. In some cases, the ESTA process may seem long. It is up to you to go back to the site to find out if you have been granted authorization.

A private service provider, such as our partner, will keep you informed in real time of the status of your application, so you don’t have to worry about the ESTA process.

Are you unsure about your ESTA application deadline?

If you think your ESTA is taking too long or if you are unsure if you are eligible for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, review the requirements to be eligible for an Electronic Travel Authorization.

First, you must be a national of a country that is a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Thirty-eight countries are currently part of this program allowing travelers to go to the United States without having to apply for a B1 or B2 tourist visa.

Here is the list of countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Croatia (2021), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland (2019), Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.

Another important point is that you must have a biometric passport or an electronic passport with sufficient validity. If your passport expires during your intended stay in the U.S., it means you must apply for a new one.

Are you sure you have filled out the online form without making any mistakes? The U.S. does not mess around with homeland security and a simple typo on your married name or passport number can be interpreted as an attempt at fraud.

Do you understand the purpose of an ESTA? You may have mentioned that you want to find a job while in the US. The ESTA is not a green card or a permanent resident card that allows you to work or even live in the USA. This is an electronic travel authorization required for business, transit or tourist trips of up to 90 days.

If you believe you have made a mistake and the ESTA is denied, you have the option to reapply within 10 days.

If you do not meet all of the above requirements, you are not allowed to travel to the USA with an ESTA. You will need to apply for a USA tourist visa to enter the United States, by going to the nearest American embassy or consulate.