The United States is one of the few countries that have an ESTA visa program. This program allows citizens from 38 countries to travel to the US without first getting a visa.
However, this program has been criticized because it’s expensive and discouraging people from traveling to the US. While some may argue that there are other reasons to discourage people from visiting America, the fact remains that this program is not doing much good.
So what exactly is the ESTA Visa? What does it mean for your trip? And how do you apply for it?
Read on below to learn more about the ESTA Visa, its benefits and drawbacks, and why you should avoid applying for it if at all possible.
There are two main types of visas available in the US. The most common are the B-1/B-2 business/tourist visas which allow their holders to enter the country for up to 90 days during any 12 month period. The second type are the F-1 student visas which allow the holder to study in the US for as long as they wish to. For both, the applicant needs to fill out an application form with information such as name, date of birth, passport number, etc. The application must also include a $160 fee for either of these visas and be submitted to a US consulate or embassy in person within 60 days of the request.
Filing a Tourist Application Form
If you’re planning on traveling to the USA for vacation, you can apply for a tourist visa online through the US Department of State website.
Once you’ve filled in the required information (name, address, dates of visit, etc.), click on the “Tourist Visas” button. You’ll then be redirected to a page where you can select the country(ies) of origin and the purpose of your visit.
You can choose between six different options, each with its own set of requirements. For example, the “Visa Waiver Program Passport Card” will require the applicants to provide proof of legal residency in the country they’re visiting. If you want to get married in the US after arriving, you need to submit marriage certificate. The “Visitor for Business” option requires the applicants to submit a letter stating the business purpose of their visit and a list of contacts who can vouch for them while travelling. The “Visitor for Pleasure” category allows tourists to stay for less than 90 days.
After filling in all the mandatory details, make sure you read the fine print carefully before clicking the “Submit” button. Once you’ve done that, you’ll receive an email confirmation with further instructions. In case you don’t receive anything, don’t panic. You can always call the relevant US embassy and try to find out what happened. Most embassies won’t mind helping you out even though you didn’t follow the rules.
What’s the difference between a Tourist Visa and a Business Visa?
Both the Tourist Visa and the Business Visa are issued by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. However, the main difference is that the Business Visa is only valid for businesses, whereas the Tourist Visa can be used for personal travel too.
This means that the Business Visa is usually given to professionals like doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, etc. who come to the US to work for a certain period of time.
On the other hand, the Tourist Visa is designed for those individuals who plan to visit the US for vacation purposes. It’s only valid for stays of up to 90 days and can be renewed multiple times. There are several countries whose nationals can benefit from this visa, but the most popular ones include Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.
Most American citizens are eligible for the Tourist Visa, although some states might still require additional paperwork. For example, Washington state requires proof of sufficient funds in order to apply for a tourist visa. Other states like Vermont and Hawaii are more lenient.
Costs Associated With a Tourist Visa
Although the ESTA Visa is free for citizens from 38 countries, you’ll still have to pay for the service provided by the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. The amount varies depending on the location of residence and whether you live in a city or rural area.
In most cases, the cost of the visa is around $160, but it can vary widely and depends on the country. For example, it costs approximately $140 for Brazilians and Canadians, but around $240 for Mexicans.
While the price seems high, keep in mind that once you get the ESTA Visa, you’ll be able to visit the US without having to worry about getting a separate visa for every country you go to. So, if you’re planning to take a trip to Europe, you’ll only need one ESTA Visa instead of three separate ones.
Other Costs Involved in Applying for a Tourist Visa
Besides the $160 fee, you’ll also have to pay a processing fee of $110 to the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Again, this amount can differ based on the location of residence.
You’ll also have to pay the $110 processing fee when submitting your application form. Additionally, you’re required to pay $15 per day for each day spent in the US after you arrive, unless you have a valid visa. Finally, you will have to register with the US Customs and Border Protection agency once you arrive in the US.
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