Travelling to the US with a VISA is no longer the easiest option, now that the ESTA has been established.

The ESTA programme has been created by the US for quicker and safer entry into the US. There are 38 different countries eligible for this programme.  Under this programme, anybody wanting to travel to the US for business or pleasure purposes can do so whilst enjoying 90 days in the country before they have to leave. What’s more… Those persons can travel to the United States as many times are they want, within two whole years.

You may be sat there thinking… ‘That sounds too good to be true!’ Alas, it is true though. The true beauty? – The cost of the ESTA programme is substantially lower than the VISA & no more will you have to visit the American Embassy. No more standing in queues No more travelling to and from the embassy. No more waiting months to hear back. Why? The ESTA should be approved within minutes of applying, although in rare cases it can take up to 72 hours. The application for the ESTA is all completed online, too. Perfect. By the time it takes for the kettle to boil, you can fill out your ESTA application, and receive confirmation. How’s that for size?


  • When completing the online application form for ESTA, ensure to correctly enter your passport number, which sits on the top right hand side of your passport photo page. Do not confuse the passport number with the digits at the bottom of the passport photo page, consisting of alpha and numeric information.
  • Just because you may have been granted an ESTA, this does not 100% guarantee entry into the country. Officials at the airport still have the right to deny entry into the country.
  • If your application has been rejected, you will need to obtain a VISA.
  • It is absolutely essential that you have an electronic passport in order to apply for the ESTA.
  • Third parties can fill out the information for you. The applicant must provide the correct information to said 3rd party, though.

Click here to find out more about ESTA on the ESTA Form website (a project by Josh and Sophie from the University of Liverpool)