Visa to travel to the United States

by Ale Werner
Aplicar a una visa

If you are thinking of traveling to the United States this post is for you. This country has a huge concern to maintain the safety of its airports, cities, hotels, people and everything within its borders, so obtaining a visa can be a very cumbersome process. Luckily for many countries, international treaties have allowed agreements that make it easier for certain citizens to enter, by obtaining a visa to travel to the United States simply and quickly, obtaining an online Visa.

Visa extension program: “Visa Waiver Program” (VWP)

A few years ago the United States began to implement this visa extension program in which it is no longer necessary to fill out physical forms, send documents to the embassy and attend endless interviews to obtain your visa to the country. This program is called “Visa Waiver”.

You can check if your country is on the following list to know if you can get this simple visa to travel to the United States. If you are then you no longer need to process your visa in person.

AustriaIrelandSan Marino
Czech RepublicLiechtensteinSouth Korea
GermanyNetherlandsUnited Kingdom
GreeceNew Zealand Peru
Pasaportes del mundo

Requirements to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program

Who can get this kind of visa?

It is only allowed to travel under this visa system to people who visit the country for tourism and/or business for a maximum period of 90 days. The type of visa granted in immigration will be type B.

In case you want to go to study, work, as a press correspondent or to stay permanently in the United States, you will have to apply for the visa under the old face-to-face system.

The ESTA form

In order to obtain this visa to travel to the United States and enter the country, you must complete the Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA) form. There is only one official site to obtain authorization, any third person sited who tries to sell you another way to obtain the visa will be a scam.

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This form must be completed before making the trip, and if your request is approved you will receive an email advising you that you are allowed to enter the United States.

  • Cost: 14 dollars (paid on the website at the time of submitting the application)
  • Validity / Duration: 2 years from the date of obtaining the authorization or other periods as indicated in the form.
  • Tickets: Multiple for a maximum period of 90 days.

** Those who currently have a tourism/business visa issued (B1 / B2) must not complete the ESTA form. When the document expires, the form must be completed.

ESTA Visa Waiver Program EEUU
How an ESTA look like when approved

** It doesn’t matter if your passport is not valid anymore, you should not get a new visa until the last one has expired.

Other requirements:

  • Electronic or biometric passport.
  • People who have a criminal record can’t use the Visa Waiver Program.
  • You should have a ticket to get back to your country of origin in a valid transport company. This ticket can be requested at the time of entry to the United States by the immigration police.

Does an approved ESTA ensure my entry to the United States?

No. An approved form does not ensure your entry into the country. The United States reserves the right to refuse entry to those who do not believe comply with what is necessary and/or requested. We recommend you to always have your papers up to date, take your printed exit ticket and answer all the questions the immigration police asks you with the truth.

What happens if my application is rejected?

If your visa application to travel to the United States is rejected, it does not mean that you can not travel. You must complete the procedure through the normal channels and apply for a non-immigrant visa by sending your papers and applications to the embassy at least 3 months before the date of your trip. It is allowed to request advance interviews if your trip is early, but granting them will be at the complete discretion of the embassy employees.

Other recommendations for traveling to the United States

  1. Get medical insurance or travel assistance. Simple medical care in the United States can cost hundreds of dollars, imagine a major accident. It would surely mean big damage to your experience and your wallet. Here we tell you more about travel insurance and why you should have one.
  2. In the United States, they are very rigid with the rules of what you can and can not take on a plane. We have seen how the immigration officials take away important elements to passengers for not having the knowledge and try to take them in the cabin, and we even know of cases where they checked baggage is not uploaded to the plane because it has something that is not allowed. Find out about the prohibited elements here first.
  3. Never argue with immigration police or anyone at an airport. You can be deported and remain for hours in interrogations.
    – If they ask you questions, answer them with sincerity.
    – In case you do not speak English, ask for a translator so they can understand you perfectly.
    – You may be asked to open your suitcase or show them something, do it. The police and guards have the full right to ask you any of these things.
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