Imagine you’ve been arrested in your home country before for Drink-Driving, and then you’re asked in your ESTA form whether you have any DUI history; what would you say?
My guess is you’ll lie and check the ‘NO’ box.
I guessed right, right? All the more reason you need to read this post until the end.
There are questions you’ll be asked when applying for ESTA USA that, if answered wrongly or dishonestly, could lead to your travel application being denied.
Sit tight and enjoy as we explore the world of ESTA travel visas.
First off, what’s an ESTA?
An ESTA, as you probably know, is a travel permit under the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. Although people sometimes mistake ESTA to mean the same thing as a regular visa, this is not true. ESTA USA is not a visa. Rather, it’s a permit that allows specific travelers into the USA for business and tourism purposes.
ESTA USA was introduced to help travelers to save time, effort, and money.
Technically, an ESTA USA is granted after a traveler has submitted their ESTA application form on the official ESTA website. Once granted, an ESTA authorization will afford a traveler a two-year entry permit. During that time, the traveler can come into the U.S. and spend a maximum of 90 consecutive days of stay per visit. When the two-year validity period is up, a traveler may be eligible to apply for ESTA again. Of course, there’s room for renewal.
Finally, under normal circumstances, every ESTA applicant is supposed to be granted an ESTA USA approval when they apply. However, sometimes when an applicant fails to answer the questions in the form correctly, they may be denied.
Usually, you can know whether your ESTA is denied, approved, or pending by regularly looking up your ESTA status check.
Having said all these, let’s now see those common questions you’ll find in your ESTA form.
Questions Asked During ESTA application
ESTA application questions are quite straightforward. Yet, this part of the application is the biggest cause of ESTA USA denial.
What does that tell you? That it’s possible to make mistakes while answering ESTA questions. To avoid that, we strongly advise that you exercise caution while addressing each of the questions in the ESTA form.
Generally speaking, these are the kinds of questions you’ll find in an ESTA USA application:
- Questions involving your travel passport
- Questions involving your Birth
- Questions involving your citizenship
- Questions about Global Entry Membership
- Questions involving your parents
- Questions involving your personal details
- Questions about your social media
- Questions involving emergency
- Questions involving your occupation
- Questions involving your travel purpose
- Questions involving your eligibility
Questions involving your travel passport
Here is where you’re asked to provide the necessary details regarding your biometric passport. Normally, you’ll have to answer questions relating to your passport data page, such as:
- Your full name (as written on the data page)
- Passport Number (usually written somewhere on the top end of your passport)
- Date of issuance (that is, when you got the passport)
- Passport expiration date
- Country of issuance (where was the passport issued to you)
Questions involving your Birth
Now, onto some personal details. Here you’ll have to answer questions such as:
- Date of Birth
- Country of Birth
- City of birth (i.e., birthplace)
Questions involving your citizenship
Now, this part can be a little bit tricky. Usually, ESTA is reserved for citizens of specific countries. However, when an applicant has dual or multi-citizenship, the procedure becomes a little bit complicated.
The law states that if an applicant has dual citizenship with any of the countries listed below, such an applicant won’t be qualified to apply for an ESTA USA.
This is because the USA doesn’t give ESTA to people from this region. Countries under this category include Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, North Korea, Libya, and Yemen.
In a scenario where you have dual citizenship with a country, not in the description above, you still need to state it. You should note that stating your second country, in this case, won’t invalidate your right to apply for ESTA USA. The U.S. government simply wants to know how you came about the second citizenship.
Questions about Global Entry Membership
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection service grants certain travelers easier entry into the U.S. These are called members of the CBP Global Entry Program. If you’re one of such, you simply have to provide your Membership Number to proceed.
Questions involving your parents
This section requires you to provide your parents’ names as shown on their passports. However, if you don’t have access to that information, you can simply reply with “UNKNOWN.”
Questions involving your personal details
Where do you live? What’s your marital status? What’s your contact number and email?
This section is where you supply all of that information. Be sure to input each one correctly. Making mistakes here might make it difficult to communicate your ESTA status with you later on.
Questions about your social media
Have you operated a social media page in the last five years? If so, ESTA officials want to know about it. This could be an account you operated on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Here, you’ll provide information such as:
- The social media platform provider name
- The social media platform name
- Your handle
So, if you have an account on Instagram, you’ll reply with:
- Facebook (name of the company that owns Instagram)
- Instagram (the platform you’re on)
- XYZ_123 (Your handle)
Traditionally, ESTA officials never cared too much about this info. In fact, it was optional until 2020. But now it’s mandatory.
Although trivial, you don’t want to provide false, inaccurate, or contrasting information in this section.
The simple reason they request your social media data is to affirm that you’re not a threat to U.S. security. If, indeed, you’re not, you should not have trouble revealing your social media identity.
However, for those who don’t have social media handles on these platforms, you can simply check the “I do not have an online presence” box.
Questions involving emergency
Next, you supply your Next of Kin’s details. Their telephone number, residential address, and full name.
Questions involving your occupation
This question revolves around your employment status. That is, are you in a job or not? If you are, who’s your employer? What do you do at the company? Where’s the company located? What’s the company’s phone number?
If you don’t have a job at the point of your ESTA application, you’ll need to show the U.S. immigration that you’ve purchased your flight return ticket. This will show them that you intend to return to your country after your 90-day stay.
Questions involving your travel purpose
As expected, U.S. immigration wants to know why you’re embarking on this journey. This section caters to questions like What’s your travel purpose? Are you en route to another destination (transit visa)? What’s your point of contact in the U.S.?
If you’re applying for ESTA for business, tourism, or transit purposes, this is where you state that. Also, this section is where you let the immigration system know where you’ll be staying (accommodation plans).
Filling an ESTA form doesn’t have to be a difficult process. You simply need to take your time with every single detail and make sure there are no contrasting information anywhere.
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