World travelers eligible for an ESTA, wishing to visit the United States, from now on will have to apply for a visa-waiver travel authorization at least 72 hours prior to their trip. US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is warning international travelers under the visa waiver program to apply for their travel authorization as soon as possible.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an electronic program that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the U.S under the Visa Waiver Program. Currently, it permits people from 38 countries to visit the US for up to 90 days, who otherwise would have to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa.
Travelers from these 38 nationals cannot board their flights without an ESTA. So far, the US authorities have permitted them to apply at the airport, get speedy ESTA approval, and board their flight as normal. However, such thing will not be possible any longer, the US Customs and Border Patrol warns
“Apply for ESTA no later than 72 hours before departing for the United States. Real-time approvals will no longer be available and arriving at the airport without a previously approved ESTA will likely result in being denied boarding,” a note highlighted in red at the top of the ESTA application website says.
All travelers are also advised not to fall for third-party companies, which charge them multiple times more for an ESTA. An ESTA costs only $14.00, whereas some other websites, which claim they offer travel authorization services, may charge you up to $100.
The application process for an ESTA includes completing an online form with your personal information, passport identification number and contact information. It is valid for 2 years and is renewable.