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esta electronic system for travel authorization

Attention Brits — Why You Need an ESTA

Want to hear a scary story? Pull up a seat, this one will take some explaining.

People who know me best will be quick to tell you how much I love to travel. From an early age I had a great affinity for exploration. Whether it was backpacking through the postcard-esque Swiss Alps or spending a week living life on the tram, I was constantly on the move.

The key to being a successful vagabond is always being prepared. Of course, accidents do happen. And thus, with only a little over a week to spare before I made the trek to the United States, I discovered my ESTA application had been botched due to an oversight on my part. I was informed that I had answered questions incorrectly on my application and subsequently declined. It was truly a nightmare, something I never foresaw happening.

A little background here – an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) is a document that permits citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without the traditional visa for stays of 90 days or less, provided they meet all requirements and guidelines as established by the Department of Homeland Security.

Why do you need one as a UK citizen? The original document was developed to strengthen security measures and ensure the safety of visitors travelling to the US. There are plenty of reasons travelers would actually want this legal paperwork. Whether we’re discussing tourism, vacationing, visiting friends or relatives – even medical treatment – an ESTA is critical.

But back to my more immediate situation …

Suddenly I found myself threatened by my own ambitions. The possibility of eating the loss of non-refundable travel and hotel accommodations became very real, a sickening feeling that followed me like a gray cloud over my head.

To make matters even worse, I had friends in America who were expecting me. Plans had been made at least a year in advance in some cases; friends had requested their valuable time off to ensure they’d be around for my visit. It was heartbreaking having to inform friends in America I may not be around after so much anticipation.

I’ll admit even as an experienced traveler I knew very little about travel from the United Kingdom to America, as evident from my predicament. So I was very surprised to learn from a friend about services that ensure ESTA is in working order.

I wouldn’t classify my situation as anything short of urgent. Fortunately, these US ESTA services specialize in timeliness – it pretty much saved my entire trip!

I was able to enlist expert counsel throughout my online ESTA application, ensuring I filled my information out correctly. This help was invaluable to me but so was the assurance that I would get my legal paperwork on time for my trip – crisis had been averted.

I suppose this doesn’t really qualify as a scary story if it has a happy ending. I was able to travel to the United States and rather enjoyed my stay there. I visited beautiful Park City in Utah and even spent some time on the golden coast of California. These are memories with friends I’ll treasure forever.

My advice to any UK citizen traveling to the US – have your ESTA accounted for well ahead of schedule. First time applicants and older travelers will hugely benefit from the same services I utilized. Travel smart and avoid any horror story of your own!

Categories: United States

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