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ESTA is the electronic system for travel authorisation for entering the USA under the Visa Waiver Program.
ESTA stands for "Electronic System for Travel Authorisation" and is the electronic travel authorisation system for entering the Unites States of America. The competent authority is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). All citizens or nationals of the Visa Waiver Program countries are eligible to travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program.
ESTA is not a visa. It does not meet the legal requirements to serve in lieu of a U.S. visa when a visa is required. Travelers that possess a valid U.S. visa may travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose it was issued. Travelers traveling on valid visas are not required to apply for an ESTA. In the same way that a valid visa does not guarantee admission to the United States, an approved ESTA is not a guarantee of admission to the United States.
ESTA became mandatory January 12, 2009. VWP applicants are required to complete a blue Customs declaration upon arrival in the U.S. whether or not they have an ESTA authorization. VWP travelers are no longer required to complete the green I-94W card.
Approved ESTA applications are valid for a period of two years, or until the passport expires, whichever comes first, and multiple trips to the United States without the traveler having to re-apply for another ESTA. When traveling to the U.S. with the approved ESTA, you may only stay for up to 90 days at a time - and there should be a reasonable amount of time between visits so that the CBP Officer does not think you are trying to live here. There is no set requirement for how long you must wait between visits.
Travelers whose ESTA applications are approved, but whose passports will expire in less than two years, will receive an ESTA valid until the passport's expiration date.
A new ESTA authorization is required if:
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