The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that helps determine eligibility for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and whether such travel poses a risk to law enforcement or security. The ESTA was introduced in 2008 to have an even better control over all tourists and business travellers. The system systematically queries travellers’ data and checks them against various databases. This provides the authorities with a better overview while simplifying entry formalities for tourists, as the application can be completed and submitted completely online.
Upon completion of an ESTA application, a traveler is informed of his or her authorization to travel to the United States under the VWP. If an ESTA is approved, it is still possible that US customs and border protection will reject a traveller at the US airport however, this happens very rarely.
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