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For almost 20 years, every time we want to travel to the United States from Spain, it is necessary process the ESTA Application (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), but what is it and what is its history?
The ESTA application (digital) was established as of August 1, 2008 in order to be able to obtain authorization to travel to the United States in advance, being the system that replaced the I-94W forms that were completed by plane or boat before enter this country.
ESTA is just an extension of the visa waiver program that has existed since 1986With the difference that with the new model, travelers can obtain a pre-authorization before leaving for the US, when before we could only know it when arriving at the destination.
This waiver program started in 1986 when Congress created legislation to facilitate business and tourism visas in the United States for a short period of time, allowing the State Department to focus on other tasks such as issuing visas to potentially higher risk users.
In the year 1991, many European countries had already joined the program alongside the first Asian country, Brunei, which became a member in 1993. This allowed millions of travelers to get into the country more easily, until after the 2011 attacks the requirements changed, including among others, having electronic passports.
Since January 20, 2010, the airlines that travel to the United States are required to require the ESTA application (as well as the visa) at the time of check-in, although when entering the country the customs agents will also request and review it.
How does the ESTA application work?
This system allows determine if a person is a candidate to travel to the United States, asking the user a series of standard questions such as the reason for entering the country or contagious diseases that the applicant may have, in addition to all their personal data in order for the automated system to grant us authorization.
System response usually takes a few seconds, and at that moment we will have it in our power. If for any reason the answer is not positive, you should contact the United States Consulate and request an entry visa.
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