Tips for getting the Visa Waiver Program authorization for USA travel as soon as possible.Even seasoned travelers may find themselves in a hurry to receive ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) approval for travel with the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
The approval process time frame is primarily dependent upon the automated system that cross-checks the applicant data with INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) security databases. However, there are elements within each applicant’s control to speed up receiving the approval determination for travel. Get your ESTA authorization as soon as possible by following the application recommendations in our February blog below.
How long does it take to be approved for visa-free travel?
In the past, approval for ESTA Visa Waiver Program applications could often be received within an hour after submitting the form. While on some occasions this may still be possible, it is more common now for the determination to take longer. Most applicants can still expect to receive their determination within 24 hours. The general guideline is to submit the application for USA travel at least 72 hours in advance of the trip to be sure to receive a response in sufficient time.
Is there an emergency travel authorization?
Certain circumstances can create the need for an emergency travel document, or an approval sent as soon as possible. A last-minute trip may come up, an individual may get a new passport and forget that a new travel authorization is required, and other times it may simply be forgotten that a travel authorization is required for an upcoming trip to the United States. While an emergency ESTA does not actually exist, there is an important step an applicant can take to receive their authorization to travel as soon as possible. After the ESTA online form is submitted, the applicant should contact a live agent and request to expedite the review process.
To contact a live agent please choose one of the following methods:
When sending a request for an urgent travel authorization, please have the following information ready to provide the live agent:
Applicants should also monitor the email address used to apply frequently in case the data agent assigned to review their application must contact them for a correction. The sooner a reply with the correct information is sent to the agent, the sooner the application may be submitted for final approval by the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) system.
Can submitting a new application speed up the approval process?
Submitting a second application will not speed up the time it takes for a request for travel with the VWP to be authorized. Once an application is pending approval within the system of the DHS, their electronic system will not allow another application with the same passport information to be reviewed until the current application is approved. Additionally, if an error is discovered on a pending application, it can not be corrected until that application receives a determination result. Then a new request with the correct information may be submitted.
Common causes for delay in travel approval
Sometimes it may take longer than 24 hours to receive approval status. This may happen if a “yes” response is entered for any of the application security questions, if there is an error on the application, if the traveler previously exceeded the 90-day limit in the USA with the visa-free travel document, or for another unknown reason. In many cases, a delayed approval response may be prevented by taking care to ensure the application is completed correctly.
Have all the information and items required prior to applying for visa-free travel
One of the best ways to speed up the ESTA application process is to have all the required information and items handy before applying. The following information is required for the application:
The following items are required to apply for the VWP:
Make sure all information on the online application is correct and complete
The online application system gives applicants an opportunity to review the data entered prior to submitting the payment. At this time, it is crucial to review all the information carefully, as even a small typo can result in denial from the program or refused boarding of the aircraft. Having a second set of eyes to review the application is recommended. It is advised to apply for the ESTA Visa Waiver Program through a reputable website like ours, ESTA-Online.com. We offer live data experts to review your application for errors, providing the highest potential for ESTA approval.
Prevent the need for a visa-free travel authorization urgently
Planning may be the best way to ensure a travel document is ready when it is needed. Many travelers prefer to apply for visa-free travel as soon as a trip to the USA is anticipated because the document is valid for two years or until the passport expires, if that will occur in less than two years. It is not necessary to know all the trip details when applying for ESTA USA. Applicants may enter “UNKNOWN” for the USA destination address and update the information on an authorized document at a later date.
More about the visa-free USA travel authorization
For eligible travelers planning to visit the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or any place in the United States during the visa-free travel that the VWP allows, you can read our complete ESTA guidefor support in preparing for a successful trip. To find out if your passport is eligible for visa-free travel to the United States, review our ESTA passport requirements. For current ESTA travel news bookmark our blog now.