Preparing for an international vacation can be a big hassle. The checklist of items to tick off can feel endless. From flights to hotels to packing to whatever other loose ends you must tie off before departing, it is easy and understandable to let something slip your mind.
Some of those things can be easily arranged at the last moment. If, for example, you somehow forget to book a hotel, it may cost you in terms of finding one in your ideal location or at a fair price but there will always be somewhere that you can find.
Forgetting to apply for a visa, on the other hand, is not always so simple of a gaff to reconcile.
If you are planning a holiday in the United States and forget to apply for authorization to enter, you may be in luck. American travel authorities understand the hectic nature of travel and have built-in an option for those travellers who may need to acquire a visa to enter America at the last moment.
The electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA) is an online visa application portal that accepts applications and distributes visas to eligible passport holders hoping to visit the US.
While authorities typically process ESTA in two business days, there is also an ESTA fast track option for those in need.
This expedited option offers travellers the ability to acquire permission to enter the United States in as little as one hour. This is truly “life-saving” or at least “vacation-saving” as it means that a forgetful traveler is not heavily punished for their mental lapse.
This is no doubt a wonderful feature of the system. However, just because the option is there does not mean it is ideal. Travel plans can always go haywire in unexpected ways and applying with plenty of time before you travel is the best way.
To learn more about the differences between the ESTA and the ESTA fast track and about applying for either option, read on.
What You Need to Know About Applying for the ESTA Fast Track
Planning for your vacation to America with plenty of anticipation is always the best option. Still, there is little to no difference regarding the nuances between the ESTA fast track and the normal ESTA. If you have the time, you should apply for the standard ESTA as the application fee is cheaper than the expedited fast-track ESTA.
However, aside from the processing fee (which you must pay using a valid credit or debit card), the applications are more or less the same.
Each applicant must supply American travel officials with personal details such as that which you can find on your passport information page. This includes your name and place of residence and things like a valid email address and phone number.
You must also include a passport-sized photograph that clearly shows your face and has a neutral white background.
Other Important Details About the ESTA Fast Track
The information recounted in the above sections is critical for people applying for the ESTA or ESTA Fast Track. It also helps to illustrate just how simple of a process it is.
That will help contribute to a successful application, assuming no unforeseen issues arise. So, how long is the ESTA valid and what other details do you need to keep in mind?
After American travel officials have sent you an email containing your approved ESTA document, the document is valid for two years. However, if you receive a new passport during those two years, the ESTA does not apply to your new passport. Even though the visa has not expired, you must submit a new application that corresponds to your new passport information.
Once you do enter the US with your approved ESTA, you will have up to 90 days to explore the United States. Another positive aspect of the ESTA is that it is a multi-entry visa. This means that if you are planning a North American trip and wish to, for example, visit Mexico, Canada, America, and the Caribbean, you do not need to apply for a separate ESTA each time you re-enter America.
As long as the total number of days does not exceed 90, you are welcome to flit back and forth between Toronto and New York or San Diego and Oaxaca, be mindful of the total days you spend within the United States.
The fast-track ESTA is ideal for travellers who have forgotten to apply for the standard ESTA. It is also perfect for business people who may have short notice regarding meetings or other aspects of their professional lives they need to attend to. Whether for seeing family, leisure, or business, the ESTA fast track is a simple and easy option.