ESTA: A closer look

Why and how ESTA has been developed?

Since the early 1900’s, trends of foreign travelers boarding to the US has been increasing. This made the US congress go into the decision in creating a program authorization that will allow permissible countries to travel to the said country. ESTA has been authorized to offer recommendations for travelers with eligibility to travel to the United States which is effective for use for up to two years starting from the issued date.

Officially in year 1986, the Visa Waiver Program has been proposed and approved by the US government to facilitate short-term visits for business purposes and tourism and to increase travel security measures in the US.

United Kingdom was able to make the first entry to the VWP which was later followed by Japan on December 16 in the same year. Other countries including France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and West Germany also joined the said travel program authorization. Moving forward is the countries from Europe joined the VWP being Brunei as the first to qualify in year 1993. Two years after, Ireland was added to the list. Proceeding years, other European countries were able to join the program- Australia, Argentina, Slovenia, Singapore, and Uruguay.

However, the US congress led by President George W. Bush, agreed to toughen the travel requirements of the foreign nationals under the Visa Waiver countries before they can finally take board to the US. Started at year 2003, all travelers under the VWP were required to show their machine-readable passports upon their arrival. After all, after a year on 4th October, this new travel rule was rejected since more of the participating VWP countries that time were unable to provide such requirement.

Year 2005, a demand for a biometric passport has been implemented in replace of the previous travel requirement of an individual traveler. However, after granting the request of the European Union with the US, this requirement did not lasted for long and officially postponed year after of the implementation due to that time there are still three countries which did not started issuing foreign travelers with an official biometric passport- these are Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Brunei.

As aiming for a fix process and rules of a travel authorization, the US government came in one hand again in creating an enhanced electronic travel authorization- more secure but such easier online platform for the foreign travelers to check their admissibility to the US. This led to the official launch of the Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA) that has been active since the year of 2010 up to current.

This new travel authorization pre-screens a traveler under the VWP admissibility to the US. Such authorization allows for a 90 days long stay in the country without an official visa obtained. However, a traveler should be advised that this is not a visa at all and only an authorization.

Further queries about ESTA application? Get the answers here and apply now for your travel- USA Travel (Travel & Concierge Service).
Hesitate no more. Plan your travel beforehand!