When you need to enter the USA, you first need to make sure that you are cleared to enter the USA. Even countries with visa free agreements need to make sure that their citizens are cleared to enter the country. Unlike other countries, where such checks are performed at the arriving airport, the USA chooses to do the majority of this scanning through their ESTA program. This program is basically a quick online screen that ensures you have the passport validity, clear record, and correct documentation to enter the USA.
While many people worry about their ESTA visa, the process is very simple, is done completely online, and can be accessed in a number of different languages. The official websites for the ESTA are rarely down, and you can always come back to your application later in the day if you don’t have the information that you need at hand. Overall, this makes it a bit more accessible than waiting at an airport to make sure that there is a translator available or arriving without the proper documentation and having to wait for your embassy to sort out the resulting mess.
Getting your ESTA visa is just one of the steps that you need to do if you are going to enter the country, and you need to make sure that you follow all instructions even if you have already filed for this visa. Getting approval in this way does not mean that you will be automatically admitted to the USA if you have committed any acts you don’t disclose. Don’t assume that you will be able to enter without your ESTA being filled out as well. Immigration crackdowns have made it even more important to make sure that your ESTA is filed if you hope to enter the country on the day of your flight.