Electronic System for Travel Authorization to Streamline Process

The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), provides an electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA). The ESTA is intended to streamline the travel process for properly documented immigrants. The automated system makes it easier for immigrants to cross borders and re-enter the United States after traveling out of the country. The program is utilized in conjunction with the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

About the Electronic System for Travel Authorization

The ESTA is an electronic system that provides border patrol officials with vital information about travelers at their point of entry into the United States. Travelers with ESTA will have their personal data entered into the electronic database for easy review at the time of travel. Airlines entering the U.S. from other countries must have authorization to use the system. It is important to note that while the information is kept electronically, some airlines may require you to provide a printed copy of approval.

How to Apply for ESTA

Application for ESTA can be made online. There are small processing and authorization fees. The application requires you to submit your important personal information for review and approval. The ESTA application should be submitted at least 72 hours before you travel. It can be submitted at any time before boarding, and often a response is received in just a few seconds. Once approved, ESTA applications are valid for two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever is sooner.

Things to Know About ESTA

It is important to know that ESTA is not the same as a visa. Those who require visas for travel must still have a valid one in place.  If you have a valid visa you are not required to obtain an ESTA, however, it can be used to help expedite your travels. You must renew your ESTA if your visa or passport expires, if your status changes, or if there are any other significant modifications to the information originally provided.

Resolving Problems with Your ESTA

If your application was denied, or if you encounter other problems, you may need assistance in resolving the situation. Sometimes the problem can be easily corrected while other times the matter is more complicated. If so, you should talk to an immigration attorney for help in reviewing your circumstances to find out what can be done. Contact the legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.