How Can I Travel to the USA for the First Time?
The United States of America is home to some of the most iconic destinations around. Cities like New York City and Los Angeles–hosts of many classic films, television shows, music videos, and events–are so often represented in popular culture that they attract people year-round by exuding a feeling of familiarity.
Of course, they aren’t the only reasons to visit America. The country is full of gorgeous scenery, exciting urban settings, and plenty of cultural events to keep anyone entertained. After all, being hospitable hosts and providing entertainment is central to the culture.
So, if you want to visit the States and are wondering how you can do so, then there is one question for you to answer: Do you come from a country whose citizens are eligible for the online visa waiver for America.
The electronic system for travel authorization, or ESTA, is a digital visa waiver distribution system that allows citizens from numerous countries to apply for and receive permission to enter America upon approval.
For example, if you hold a passport from Ireland, you are eligible for the ESTA for Irish citizens. Ireland is among the 40 nations currently enrolled in the ESTA visa waiver program. If you come from Ireland, or another eligible country, read on to find out more. If you hold a passport from a non-eligible country, then check back soon as the list is sure to expand.
What Is the ESTA Application Process Like?
Acquiring an ESTA is an easy process. After security, usability and ease were the primary factors that American travel authorities considered while designing the program.
For starters, although the entire application process is carried out virtually, it helps if applicants approach it like any other visa acquisition. Among other things, each person will need to gather documents, collect personal information, and pay a non-refundable processing fee with either a debit or credit card.
Regarding the documents, the most important one is that you hold a valid passport from a country that is currently among those previously mentioned 40 countries. Other information you will be required to submit includes your date of birth, current address, and a valid email address.
The email address is important because the ESTA will arrive in your inbox.
I Currently Have an ESTA But How Long Is It Valid For?
The pandemic put a lot of travel plans on hold. After international trips began again, there were understandably many questions about how travel would work after everything had been on pause for such a long time.
One of the primary questions that people had was whether or not their unused visas were still valid. In the case of the ESTA, as long as the passport that it is connected to remains valid, passengers can travel on their ESTA up to two years from the date it was issued.
However, once you have entered the US on your ESTA, you may stay in the country for up to 90 days.
If you received an ESTA more than two years ago, you must reapply, even if you never traveled on it.
Similarly, if you have received a new passport after officials granted you permission to visit the US, then you must go through the application process again. It is not allowed to travel on an ESTA that does not match your passport, even if all the other information is the same.
Visiting The United States For the First Time
Visiting the United States is an exciting proposition. It can also be overwhelming. Where should you go and what should you do?
The best advice is to not try to fit in too much. If you are staying for a week, don’t try to visit New York, Chicago, and Miami. Each of those destinations can easily support a week-long trip, and rushing through them will only give you the impression that you never really got to know any of them.
Going on vacation is meant to be relaxing. The idea is to take a short break from the wear and tear of daily life. So, why pack your itinerary to the brim and risk coming back home even more exhausted than when you left?
Another thing to consider is what type of vacation you want to have. If you are a fan of big cities, there is little question about where you should visit. However, if you are thinking about a beach vacation, you should research and pick one that offers everything you want.
Some of America’s best beaches are remote and difficult to access. Don’t worry though. Even if Hawaii and the Florida Keys are not in the cards, there are plenty of options. South Carolina, Southern California, and even freshwater lakes like Lake Tahoe and the Ozarks offer relaxing and picture-perfect views.