Since the terrorist attacks that happened on 9/11 VISA’s to the United States have become more difficult to obtain which has mad business travel more difficult as well. Many business people that do regular trips to the US for conferences, meetings, negotiations, inspections, and sales appointments were needlessly hampered by the new restrictions. In order ease the travel for regular visitors the US implemented a program called the ESTA Visa which is designed to help alleviate the problems involved.
Quick Trips Are Now Easier
The Visa Waiver Program allows people from certain eligible countries to enter what is call the Electronic System for Travel Authorization before they come to the US. After they’ve been approved they will be able to enter the US with their USA ESTA Visa and not have to apply for the standard B-1 visa. Each time they arrive they have to enter the system called the VISIT program which uses fingerprints and other biometric information to keep track of visitors.
The system is carefully designed to stop identity fraud, stolen passports, fake passports, and terrorism by making a positive identification on all visitors. Plus, anyone that has overstayed their visa will be easier to spot. The standard ESTA type visa will be good for up to 90 days. Plus, the visitors are able to come and go more often with less delay.
There are currently 36 countries eligible with more being added all the time. However, anyone that’s from one of these countries is still able to apply for the B-1 visa or any other type as well. The USA ESTA application is good for two years from the time it’s issued so travelers may come and go several times on the same visa.
Certain Requirements Need To Be Met
Of course, a valid passport is required, but it also must be of the newer type that can be read automatically by the passport readers. Most passports now meet this requirement and all newer ones will. The only purposes that these can be issued for is business travel, tourism, or transit to other countries. Educational visas are different and need to be applied for separately.
There are also restrictions on what other countries that a person may have recently visited before coming to the US. Travelers that have been to countries known to sponsor terrorism will need to make sure that they are still eligible to enter before they leave their home country or they could be turned away at the airport.
If you are a frequent traveler to the US you should definitely consider the option of applying for the ESTA type of Visa. They are more convenient, faster, and last longer than most other visa types.