Everything you need to know about the ESTA application process plus some U.S.A travel inspiration

If you’re planning to visit one or a number of the American states, and you’re not a citizen of the U.S.A., you’ll need to apply for an ESTA in order to travel. It’s worth noting that this application must be made AT LEAST three full days before your departure, however I recommend that you complete your application around one month before you travel.

What is the ESTA authorisation?

Since 2009, when the UK become a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), UK citizens can travel to the US with an ESTA. This is a simple travel authorization valid for 2 years which can be applied for online. If you follow all the steps properly, you will receive it fast and without major complications.

Where and how can I apply for ESTA?

The ESTA application process is not difficult, however in 2014 some features were added for the sake of international security. You might need to provide information such as your parents’ names, the city you were born in, and an address where you can be found or contacted in the US. This is just to ensure that relevant background checks can be completed and so that the authorities can make sure that you are not planning to stay on in the country once your ESTA has expired.

If you know how to use a computer, you shouldn’t have any problem with the online application. If you’re not confident enough to complete the application yourself there are companies online that can help you through the process.

Tips to help you complete the online form

  • If you don’t have a contact address in the US to mention, insert the word UNKNOWN in the dedicated field. This is a mandatory section and it’s better to be honest than denied the permission;
  • If you already have the ESTA and decide to go to USA for the second time in the 2-years validity period, you can update your new destination on the system;
  • If you are just in transit and going to another country, you will have to select the Yes answer to the question connected with this detail;
  • If you will have several addresses in the US, you can enter only the first one;
  • If you are travelling with the family keep in mind that you’ll need to fulfil an ESTA request for every member; there is no possibility to apply as a group;
  • When you start the application, be patient and answer all the questions, because their whole purpose is to ensure proper frontier security and keep you safe ;

Finally, it’s worth nothing that children need their own passports and ESTA authorisation to travel to the United States. And that each ESTA is valid for a period of two years; you will need to reapply if you want to revisit the US after this time.

U.S.A. travel inspiration from Wanderlusters

One of the main draws of travel to America is that there are a wealth of landscapes and cultural hubs to explore. Craving an all-American adventure but not sure where to start? Check out some of my US travel guides below.

Hawaii

Synonymous with the image of a paradisaical escape, Hawaii is home to eight islands each offering a unique blend of Pacific cultures and awe-inspiring landscapes. Having spent some time exploring the island chain during a month-long stint in the Island State, I’ve put together this guide to help first time visitors choose where to base themselves during their stay. Trying to figure out how to get the most aloha for your money in Hawaii? Click on the images below to hear my thoughts or check out these Hawaii travel tips.

Florida

Another state famed for sun, sea, and sand, Florida has much to offer the active outdoor traveller. Check out my trip report from Crystal River where I made friends with some of the region’s wild residents. Or if you’re more of a culture vulture read my guide to Miami’s craft beer scene.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas, the pulsating heart of Nevada. Bright lights and wild nights, the city is well known for its sinful indulgences, but what does the destination offer adventurous travellers keen for a taste of America’s big kid’s playground? Here are my guides to getting off the strip.

U.S.A. road trip route ideas

For anyone who loves adventure a road trip encompasses the epitome of explorative travel. Unrestrained by a rigorous itinerary, and offering the flexibility to detour at a moment’s notice, hitting the road with just a tank full of gas is incredibly liberating. Having spent some time driving through the United States I’ve collated, what I believe to be some epic U.S.A road tripping routes.

Considering an American adventure and want some help planning your itinerary? Reach out to my via my contact page or leave a comment below!

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