As the world becomes more connected than ever before, more people are traveling across borders to conduct business, visit family, or just experience new cultures. One of the most popular destinations for international travel is the United States of America. However, for individuals traveling to the US, obtaining the right travel documentation is essential. Two of the most commonly used travel documents for people traveling to the US are the ESTA and the ES. In this article, we will explore the difference between these two documents and their importance.
What is an ESTA?
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It is an automated system that determines the eligibility of travelers to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and is valid for two years. The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of 39 countries to travel to the United States for business or pleasure for up to 90 days without a visa. In order to be eligible for the VWP, travelers must apply for an ESTA before they arrive in the US.
What is an ES?
An ES is a travel document issued by the US government to individuals who are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. This includes citizens of countries that are not part of the VWP or individuals who plan to stay in the US for more than 90 days. The ES is a non-immigrant visa that allows individuals to travel to the US for business, tourism, or to visit family and friends.
Difference between ESTA and ES
While both the ESTA and the ES are travel documents required for entry into the US, there are some key differences between them.
The most significant difference between the ESTA and the ES is the eligibility criteria. As mentioned earlier, the ESTA is only available to citizens of 39 countries that are part of the VWP. Conversely, the ES is available to citizens of all countries who require a visa to enter the US.
Purpose of travel
The ESTA is designed for individuals who plan to travel to the US for business or pleasure for up to 90 days. The ES, on the other hand, is designed for individuals who plan to stay in the US for an extended period of time, such as to work or study.
Another significant difference between the ESTA and the ES is the duration of their validity. An ESTA is valid for two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. On the other hand, the ES can be valid for up to ten years, depending on the visa type and the visitor’s purpose of travel. The duration of a visitor’s stay in the US is determined by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry.
The cost of the ESTA and the ES also differ. An ESTA costs $14, while the ES application fee ranges from $160 to $190 depending on the visa type. Additionally, the ES requires an appointment at a US embassy or consulate, which can also incur additional costs.
The application process for the ESTA and the ES also differs significantly. The ESTA application can be completed online, and processing times are typically short, with most applications being approved within minutes. On the other hand, the ES application requires an in-person appointment at a US embassy or consulate, and the processing time can be several weeks.
Importance of ESTA and ES
Both the ESTA and the ES are essential travel documents for anyone planning to travel to the US. They are important because they facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into the United States, which can be a complex and time-consuming process. Without these travel documents, individuals may be refused entry at the port of entry or deported back to their country of origin. Additionally, these travel documents can save time, as they allow for faster processing at the port of entry.
In summary, the ESTA and the ES are two different travel documents required for entry into the United States. The ESTA is designed for citizens of VWP countries who plan to travel to the US for business or pleasure for up to 90 days. The ES, on the other hand, is designed for individuals who plan to stay in the US for an extended period of time, such as to work or study. While there are differences between these two travel documents, both are essential for facilitating entry into the US and ensuring a smooth travel experience.