Have you just booked your first trip to the United States and aren’t sure what to do next? You will need to apply for an ESTA before you travel. We have compiled this step by step guide on how to avail of your ESTA holiday visa to the United States here.
What is an ESTA?
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk.
How do I apply for an ESTA?
First thing that is imperative to note is that there are several companies out there that will offer an ESTA service but charge extortionate fees. An ESTA visa only costs $14 so don’t get ripped off. Here is the ONLY official US Embassy website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
**DO NOT USE: www.esta.ie **
They feature the following disclaimer:
Disclaimer: This website provides information about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and is a private website not affiliated with the U.S. government. Outgoing links on this website goes to a third-party website that offers assistance in submitting ESTA applications. The service is provided by a private company, which charges a fee of US$ 73,00 in addition to the U.S. government fee of US$ 14,00. The total service fee for their service is US$ 87,00. If you do not wish to use a private company, you may submit your ESTA application directly at the official U.S. government website.
How long does my ESTA application take?
ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends that ESTA applications be completed at least 72 hour prior to travel.
How long does my ESTA last?
The ESTA (when approved) allows citizens of Ireland and other participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. You must have proof of a return journey and a valid passport.
Dublin Airport is one of only a handful of airports outside North America that offers a US Preclearance facility. This means that you can go through immigration and essentially enter the United States without before you have even left Irish soil. This is a huge time-saving aspect of traveling to the States. Dublin airport has outlined a comprehensive guide to the US Preclearance facility here if you would like further information. It is important to leave yourself plenty of time before a US flight as often the queues at US immigration can be quite lengthy. We would advise you to make your way straight to US Preclearance after you have checked in as normal at Dublin Aiport.
Once you have completed the above steps we wish you a very safe flight and fantastic trip to the United States.
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