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Requesting the ESTA authorisation before making arrangements

Is your travel itinerary to the US still undefined? 

Many cities in the United States are already reporting summer weather with residents and tourists taking to its beaches and parks for summer fun. Popular travel internet sites also have enticing specials and incentives for tourist destinations such as Las Vegas, New York City, Orlando and Miami. But, what happens if you are still unsure of your exact travel dates or destination? Can you obtain the ESTA travel permit before you’ve confirmed your travel plans?

The ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is a digital acknowledgement of your travel status for any destination city in the United States.

Citizens of approved Visa Waiver Program countries are given a convenient method to complete their application for travel authorisation online. The process for such ESTA approval avoids the usually long wait times at government offices and high costs of obtaining a nonimmigrant visitor or business visa. 

You may secure your ESTA Travel authorization without knowing the exact details of your stay. What is important, is knowing your eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program to the United States.  Departure city, airline name and flight numbers, and destination city address are all optional fields within the online ESTA application. These details are not required to obtain approval status. 

The government recommends completing optional travel information fields once you are sure of your travel details. Failure to add travel details however, will not change your approval status to travel to the United States. 

In summary, if your future travel plans include a visit to the United States, know your ESTA travel status before purchasing a last-minute vacation. The ESTA authorisation is valid for a period of two years, unless your passport expires before. You may use the same authorization for multiple trips to the U.S. – The ESTA permit, is a great value indeed.

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.