What is the ESTA Entry Form?

Published on: Jun 12, 2018, Last Edited: Aug 20, 2019 | Tags: ESTA Form, ESTA Requirements


Introduction

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no longer requires travelers visiting the U.S. by air or sea to complete paper-based I-94 or I-94W Arrival / Departure forms, which used to be confused as 'ESTA Entry Forms', given they were required just prior to the launch of the ESTA in 2008. Thus, since 2008 travelers arriving by air or sea to U.S. territories must now apply for an ESTA online if they wish to travel under the visa waiver program.

Are I-94 or I-94W forms still used?

Prior to 2008, arrivals into the U.S. were required to complete paper-based I-94 or I-94W forms for entry into the United States. Paper-based I-94 and I-94W forms are still used by CBP to keep track of the departure and arrival dates of travelers arriving by land across the Mexican and Canadian borders. However, since 2009 eligible travelers arriving by air or sea have been required to obtain either an ESTA online or a USA visa. The ESTA was developed after Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 for travelers under the Visa Waiver Program, which was originally formed in 1986.

What benefits does ESTA provide over the paper-based I-94 and I-94W forms?

Completing an online ESTA entry form is a simple process and must be completed by travelers wishing to travel to the United States for business, tourism or transit purposes. Applicants typical need 15-20 minutes to complete the online entry form and submit it for processing. Decisions are typically made within minutes of completing payment.

An approved ESTA allows citizens of 38 visa waiver countries the ability to travel to the United States with an electronic travel authorization. Eligible travelers for the ESTA are those who hold a passport to one of the 38 visa waiver countries and fulfil the required criteria set forth by CBP. New countries are added to the Visa Waiver Program infrequently, yet for an up-to-date list visit https://www.official-esta.com/visa-waiver-program/. There are also additional factors influencing eligibility including passport type, travel purpose, as wel as travel, immigration, criminal and medical history in addition to others. You can check your eligibility for ESTA by visiting: https://www.official-esta.com/requirements-for-esta

What if a traveler is not eligible for an ESTA?

Travelers not eligible for ESTA will need to apply for a U.S. visa. U.S. visa applicants can complete the DS-160 visa application form online, however, an interview at a U.S. embassy is a requirement. Applicant embassy appointments may be waived if the applicant has successfully obtained a U.S. visa in the past or the applicant is under the age of 14 or over the age of 80. When scheduling an embassy appointment, the U.S. visa application system will prompt applicants to provide the necessary documentation based on their circumstances.

Get the right travel authorization for the United States

If you hold a passport from a visa waiver country such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or other Western European Country, you may be eligible to obtain an ESTA for tourist, business, medical or transit purposes. Get started on your application, otherwise, visit the FAQ to learn more about the ESTA

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ESTA is a mandatory travel authorization for travelers visiting the United States either by Sea or Air for tourism, transit or business visits under 90 days.

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