ESTA 411

Traveling to the US is easy when you have an ESTA

Often you hear stories that traveling to the US is a hassle. Why? Flights can be expensive, planning is problematic and the whole VISA process is challenging to say the least.

Fear not wanderers. Help is here… for one of those problems anyway. Introducing, the ESTA. The ESTA is a program that was created by the US Department of Homeland Security, predominately to improve the speed in which travelers from 38 countries enter the US. Those countries include: United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Sweden, Chile, and more.

Who is the ESTA intended for?

Good question, simple answer. The ESTA is for anybody with a connecting flight involving the US. For tourists, business, or personal use. 

Why should you choose ESTA?

Compared to the VISA, the ESTA is:

  • Cheaper ($14)
  • Quicker (10 minutes to apply online and should be approved within minutes, although it can take up 72 hours)
  • The validity period lasts for two years (I know right?)
  • You can enter the US as many times as you want within those two years
  • You can stay in the US for a maximum of 90 days per visit!

Notable information

*Remember just because your ESTA is approved, it does not fully guarantee your entry to the US. It is the US officials at the airport who will ultimately decide who enters the country.

**If your ESTA is rejected, you must obtain a visa.


(Guest article written by Josh Hobson & Sophie Jones, Masters Students @ the University of Liverpool)