Travelling to California with an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization)

California is one of the most visited states in the US and people choose it as a holiday destination for a variety of reasons. Many people like to visit the beaches in California, whilst LA and especially Hollywood is where you might bump into some celebrities, or you can visit attractions such as the Chinese Theater or the Walk of Fame.San Francisco is another very popular part of California, where the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge is a big attraction.

Lots of people head to California for a road trip adventure , with the west coast route offering some amazing views and iconic places to stop along the journey. There are so many great reasons to visit this area of the US but it is important that you adequately plan for a trip to California.

Do non US citizens need a visa to visit California?

Anyone entering the US that is not a US citizen is required to have some form of travel authorization, such as a visa or an ESTA. For citizens that are from countries that are members of the Visa Waiver Program, they have the benefit of being able to apply for an ESTA instead of a visa.

An ESTA is available for citizens from the 39 countries that are in the VWP, provided that the trip to the US is for less than 90 days and that the visit is for tourism or business purposes. The ESTA can be used for flying into California and can also be used for traveling across different states in the US. The restriction is that the total stay in the US cannot be for longer than 90 days.

How to apply for an ESTA for California?

Applying for an ESTA is quick and easy, especially when compared to the process of applying for a US visa. To apply, simply go onto the website to complete the online application form, which can be filled in taking no more than 10 minutes. You will need to provide your details such as name, address and DOB, as well as answering security questions and providing your passport details. Your application will then be screened by US officials to assess whether your application is to be accepted.

What do I need to apply for an ESTA?

You will need to pay an application fee for the ESTA and you will also need a valid email address for your application status update to be sent to. If approved, the ESTA will be electronically linked to your biometric passport and will be immediately valid to use for your trip to California. It is recommended that you apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before you are set to travel to the US, so that there is enough time for it to get processed. Sometimes the application will get processed in just a few minutes but in some cases, it can be much longer. It is a good idea to apply well in advance of your trip so that you can deal with any issues with the application.


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