Is an ESTA the same as a visa?

Every national under the visa waiver program traveling to the United States must hold a valid  ESTA Travel Authorization. ESTA will allow citizens to enter the USA without a visa for up to 90 days per visit for Tourism, Business, Medical or Transit purposes.

However, if the applicant has been denied an ESTA or wishes to stay in the USA for a period exceeding 90 days he/she must apply for a relevant US visa. It is important to know that the VISA process is more complicated and it might take up more time to receive it.

To apply for the US visa at the embassy applicants will need to fill out a more comprehensive form and attend an interview at the US embassy. Depending on the type of visa travelers might be asked to provide additional documents due to security reasons.

The citizens who are a part of the Visa Waiver Program do not need a visa to travel to the United States of America. All citizens holding a valid passport from one of the VWP countries, to enter the USA simply need to apply for an ESTA  online.

Do I need a visa if I have an ESTA?

All citizens who are part of the VWP can apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) visa waiver to travel to the United States, however, ESTA allows one to stay in the US for up to 90 days per visit. If you wish to visit the USA for a short period of time for business, tourism, medical or transit reasons you must apply for an ESTA.

Approved ESTA application does not provide the same level of rights as a valid U.S. visa.

To apply for the United States visa applicants will need to fill out a more comprehensive form and attend an interview at the United States embassy. Depending on the type of visa travelers might be required to provide additional documents due to security reasons.

What does an ESTA allow me to do?

A valid ESTA allows citizens to enter the USA for short stay purposes without a regular visa for up to 90 days per visit. For security measures, the pre-screening of travelers is necessary prior to their arrival to the United States.

ESTA is multi-entry travel authorization allowing citizens from 38 eligible countries to visit the United States multiple times within 2 years, however, one visit must not exceed 90 days, it is strongly advised to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours prior to your departure to the US.

Other frequently asked questions

Who needs an ESTA?

How can I check if my ESTA is still valid?

How long does an ESTA last?

How to apply for an ESTA?