Have you ever wondered what the visa ESTA program is all about? Visa ESTA simply means Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Under the umbrella of the Visa Waiver Program, the United States decided to strengthen their security in regards to people traveling into the country. This visa enhancement program provided additional security measures for the protection of the citizens of the United States.
Countries that are eligible under the Visa Waiver Program can travel into the U.S. without a visa but they will have to have a travel authorization approval prior to their entry. All of the information, including an automated form, are available on a website developed by the United States Border and Customs Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
After you have entered all of the required personal information about your travel plans and biography, you will then need to make a final payment. The website accepts all credit cards and is 100% secure. Your information will be processed and then the system will determine whether you are eligible to enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. You will be provided with an automated response and your approved travel authorization information will be kept on file.
It should be stated that ESTA is not a visa. It will not stand up to U.S. visa requirements or serve as an alternative way of traveling with a legal U.S. visa. Any traveler who has a valid U.S. visa will not need to apply for an ESTA.
ESTA was first introduced in January, 2009. Visa Waiver Program applicants must fill in their blue customs declaration form when they arrive in the United States. This form must be completed whether they have an ESTA authorization or not. Visa Waiver Program travelers are now under no obligation to complete the previous green I-94 W card.