The United States is the only country to have a separate visa category for visitors who want to stay in the country longer than they are allowed to stay on a tourist visa. This visa, called the ESTA, is intended for people from countries whose citizens don’t need visas to enter the U.S., such as Canada and Mexico.
If you hold an ESTA visa, you can travel to the United States without having to apply for a green card or any other type of visa beforehand. You just have to check in at the airport upon arrival, and then leave the country within 90 days of your arrival or face potential deportation.
Although the ESTA visa is not an official one, it is widely used by tourists and business travelers. In fact, if you are planning to visit the United States, it makes sense to choose this option instead of applying for a regular tourist visa. Here are 7 ways that the ESTA visa beats regular visas.
1. It’s Easier To Obtain
To apply for a regular tourist visa, you will first need to find a US consulate abroad and then make an appointment with them to get your application processed. Once approved, you usually need to go back to the embassy (or consulate) where you applied to pick up your passport – all done through mail.
On the other hand, to receive an ESTA visa, all you need to do is pay for a flight ticket and fly to the United States to get checked in. After that, you don’t even need to go to the airport since you will be issued a boarding pass when you arrive at the airport. To leave the country, you simply have to check out and head home.
If the person will plan to use the esta visa then it is the best option. As a person can easily obtain the esta documents. Even the person will get several benefits that will prove to be a good option. In the long run the option will prove to be the best one.
2. It’s cheaper
You can buy a regular visa for $160 per person. The price varies depending on how long you plan to stay in the U.S. A two-year tourist visa costs $136. However, the ESTA visa comes at a much cheaper rate. You can buy an ESTA visa for around $110 per person, which is about half the cost of getting a regular visa.
While the price difference may seem small initially, over time, it adds up. For example, if you decide to spend six months in the U.S. and return home after each month, buying a regular visa would end up costing you $1,760. On the other hand, if you opt to use the ESTA visa, it will only cost you $720, saving you more than $1,000.
3. It’s faster
Getting a regular visa takes weeks while receiving an ESTA visa takes less than 24 hours. Since the processing time for a regular visa is quite lengthy, it doesn’t make sense to apply for one if you don’t intend to stay long enough in the United States to justify spending so much time waiting for approval.
But with the ESTA visa, you get to pick up your passport right away. Plus, you won’t have to waste time going back to the embassy to pick up your passport at the end of your trip. Instead, you’ll get your boarding pass when you check into the airport.
4. You get better treatment at the border
In addition to speeding up the process, a lot of other things also happen automatically when you apply for an ESTA visa. When you cross the border, there will be no questions asked about your purpose of visiting the U.S., nor will they ask why you didn’t come directly from your home country. They just assume that you are a visitor and let you in quickly.
5. You don’t need to worry about getting a stamp in your passport
Since you already have a valid ESTA visa, you don’t need to worry about getting a stamp for your passport. All you have to do is present your passport to customs officials for inspection before leaving the country.
6. You get better protection against identity theft
When you apply for a regular visa, you may not realize that there is a high chance that someone could steal your identity when you fill out the application form. If your name sounds very similar to someone else, it could lead to you being denied entry into the country, causing you to lose money or having your personal information stolen.
However, with the ESTA visa, your identification will never be questioned. When you arrive at the airport, you won’t need to wait for an officer to inspect your passport; you will just be given a boarding pass and sent on your way.
7. It’s easier to get around
If you live in another country and want to travel to the United States frequently, having a non-immigrant visa can be difficult because you will have to renew it every three months. But since the ESTA visa grants you unlimited stays, you won’t need to bother yourself with traveling to the United States multiple times a year. You can enjoy the benefits of living in different places without having to deal with a lot of red tape.
If you prefer a shorter term visa, consider buying an ESTA visa instead. Even though it isn’t a formal visa, it still offers many of the same benefits as a regular one.