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Travelling to the USA isn’t just a pipe dream any more for adventure seekers, it’s now far more affordable for travellers, especially with cost-effective airfare from airlines like Air New Zealand, British Airways and Norwegian Air. It makes a country that might have been a dream location, a genuine reality. Many are utilising the bargain airfares and heading to the USA, but what do you need to enter the USA for your travels? Should you apply for an ESTA or a visa to gain entry? It might feel a bit confusing, so let me guide you on how to travel to the USA, and the easiest way to do it via e-visa.

ESTA or Visa?

If you are going to the USA for a holiday you’ll need an ESTA. What is that you ask? ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and without having one, you cannot enter the USA, so getting one should be a priority. You’ll only needs a visa if you are wanting to remain the USA for over a month, so if you’re off to the USA just for a holiday you need a ESTA. You ESTA is valid for 2 years, then you will need to renew.

How do you get an ESTA?

You can go direct to the USA government website and apply, but for my upcoming trip to California I went via a specific website service. I used the e-visa website that does all the hard work for you.

Key information about an ESTA

  • An ESTA is imperative for gaining entry to the USA – essentially it’s a check of eligibility
  • You will also need an ESTA when visiting Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands or the Northern Marianas
  • You need to know where you will be staying on your first night of your trip and it’s good to have a contact in your location.
  • Anyone who has been to Iran, North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Yemen or Libya after March 2011 can’t apply for an ESTA unfortunately.

As you can read above, getting your ESTA application sorted is imperative!

How I apply for my ESTA

I recall doing my ESTA the first time via the other application website, and whilst it was easy, it took a while and I was waiting for a bit to get my nod of approval. Which as a first time applicant I was quite nervous because without it, I couldn’t go on holiday! This time I was using e-visa for an an ESTA visa travel authorization. It took minutes to fill out. Less than 72 hours later (it was actually 48hours), I had my approval and my application was complete. It was literally such an easy experience I’d do it every time moving forward.

Why is e-visa a great option for your ESTA

For me personally I find travel organisation quite stressful, especially with my upcoming trip as I’ve got all these things to pack and ensure I’ve checked off. If you apply for your ESTA on the official website it will cost your 14 US dollars. On the e-visa website it will cost £29.95. Some might argue that’s a significant jump in cost, but literally my time cut in half. I had someone do all the hard work and it was the best thing I could have chosen to do.

When you filled out all your details it took you through to the next page which prompted you to double check your passport details. It was highlighted in yellow making it very clear that if you didn’t check those details and they were incorrect, it would make your ESTA invalid. They don’t do this via the other website.

Double checking is SO important for your ESTA

I must have triple checked my details before submitting, but having that extra page prompt on e-visa was a great addition. Unfortunately, my Dad learnt the hard way about this on the other website, because his details had been incorrectly entered. This meant his ESTA was completely invalid. Having that extra check was great.

Keeping you updated on your application

Throughout the application process I was kept up to date. The team at e-visa got in touch and shared my application status. Literally done before I could blink! They did all the hard work and I now have my ESTA documentation ready for my big trip!

What else can you do with e-visa

Whilst you don’t need anything other than an ESTA to travel to the USA for your holiday, there are other products available with e-visa. E-visa has visa specialists who manually check each application, so they can pick up on any mistakes straight away. Apply for your Turkey visa, ESTA (USA), eTA Canada, India visa, Egypt visa, Sri Lanka visa, Australia visa or Thailand visa. They actually offer a full refund policy if your application is denied, so basically if anything goes wrong you’re guaranteed to get your money. On the official site, that won’t happen. They also have 24/7 customer service during weekends and holidays. All on one website!

Take a look at the e-visa website for more information, and of course, any questions feel free to drop me a message.

*This is a collaboration post with e-visa*