eVisa for Visiting the United States (ESTA)
The United Stats’ version of an eVisa is called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and while not explicitly an eVisa, ESTA shares similarities with the concept of eVisas used in other countries. ESTA functions as an online travel authorization system that grants eligibility for travelers from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries to visit the USA for short stays without obtaining a traditional visa. Similarly, eVisas, implemented by various countries worldwide, also facilitate travel authorization through an online platform, allowing visitors to enter the country for specific purposes without a physical visa stamp in their passport. To check if you are eligible for an ESTA, you can use the eligibility form above.
Is ESTA a type of eVisa?
Yes, the ESTA program can be considered a type of eVisa, but with some fundamental differences. Both ESTA and eVisa are electronic travel authorization systems that facilitate travel without the need for a traditional visa stamp in the passport. However, the main distinction lies in the purpose and scope of these systems:
Scope of Use:
- ESTA: The Electronic System for Travel Authorization is specific to the United States and only applicable to travelers from VWP countries.
- eVisa: An eVisa, on the other hand, is a broader concept and implemented by various countries worldwide. Each country has its eVisa program with specific eligibility criteria and requirements.
- ESTA: Travelers from VWP countries who wish to visit the U.S. for short stays (up to 90 days) for tourism, business, or transit purposes are eligible to apply for ESTA.
- eVisa: Each country determines its eVisa eligibility criteria, which may vary widely depending on the purpose of the visit, nationality of the applicant, and the country’s immigration policies.
Duration of Stay:
- ESTA: Travelers approved through ESTA can stay in the United States for up to 90 days per visit.
- eVisa: The permitted duration of stay under an eVisa depends on the issuing country’s regulations and may vary from a few days to several months.
- ESTA: Once approved, an ESTA is generally valid for two years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first. During this period, travelers can make multiple short visits to the U.S.
- eVisa: The validity of an eVisa varies significantly depending on the issuing country. Some eVisas are single-entry and valid for a specific period, while others may be multiple-entry and have longer validity periods.
Visa Waiver Program Designated Countries
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- United Kingdom