VWP and ESTA
If you plan to visit the US you will require to have made application via the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation or have obtained a Visa, depending on where you live.
The US introduced the ESTA system a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and has used it since then for certain visitors to the US. The attacks prompted the US government to look at ways in which they could assess their visitors. With many million visitors each year, the US wanted a system which was robust, easy for the traveller to use and would still provide them with enough information to make security checks. In this way they have managed to reject visitors who they regard as ‘risky’ and who may pose a security risk to their country.
The US have a VWP or Visa Waiver programme of which many countries are a part. Citizens of the VWP countries can apply through the VWP by completing an ESTA and that saves making application for a Visa which can be a lengthy and time consuming process. Citizens who are not included in the Visa Waiver Programme must apply for a Visa in the normal way.
Travellers are allowed to enter the US for a period of time, up to a maximum of 90 days, under this programme and although there are exclusions, most business and holiday travel is acceptable.
You must apply for Your ESTA online. The process can take up to 72 hours to generate a response so you are advised to make application a soon as possible because if your application is rejected, you will have to apply for a Visa to enter the US and that can take you many weeks to complete the process. You normally do not have to wait too long for your application to be assessed and some approvals come within the hour.
"If you are Dutch speaking, a useful website for completion of your ESTA would be E Visum Service"
It will only take about 5 minutes to complete the application and payment can be made in a number of ways. Your documents will be emailed to you. There is a telephone point of contact and also a contact us form and email contact should you have any problems completing your application
Travellers to the US should note that in order to visit the US an ESTA or Visa will be required there is no exception to this so if you do not have the necessary documentation, you will not be able to complete your visit and if you do manage to board the aeroplane, you will certainly not manage to clear immigration. If you have for some reason forgotten to apply or didn’t realise that you had to apply, the application can be quickly made at the airport as long as you can manage to get online, you must then cross your fingers and hope for a speedy response!