The Electronic System for Travel Authorization, commonly known as 'ESTA', is an online application system developed by the United States government to pre-screen travelers before they are allowed to travel to the United States.
An approved ESTA Travel Authorization can be used for both visit and transit through the United States. Only citizens of the Visa Waiver Countries can enter the United States with ESTA. Citizens of non Visa Waiver Countries need to apply for a regular United States tourist visa. Once the traveler has obtained the ESTA Travel Authorization, he or she can visit the United States on multiple occasions within the limitations of the Visa Waiver Program. Travelers entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are normally allowed to stay for up to 90 days, but may be required to provide a return ticket and proof of funds upon entry. The application process for a travel authorization consists of less formalities in comparison to the United States visa application process.
ESTA Travel Authorization is now required for all tourists entering the United States (by air or sea) under the Visa Waiver Program.
An approved Travel Authorization (ESTA) is required for passengers of Visa Waiver Countries transiting through the United States by air.
Business travelers entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are also required to hold an approved United States Travel Authorization.
Limitations of ESTA: You are not allowed to work in the United States; not allowed to stay for more than 90 days; not allowed to change immigration status; and not allowed to apply for a green card or U.S. citizenship
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