The citizens of Austria have an option to waive the visa and journey to the United States of America. This option is the ESTA or broadly Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
The ESTA for Austrian citizens allows them to visit the United States of America for short studies, medical, transit, business, and tourism purposes without the visa for approx. 3 months or up to 90 days.
This option can be availed only for one visit. The Austrian law introduced the “Visa Waiver Program” in the year 1991.
However, due to few factors, such as terrorist threats and security measures, Austria has made the pre-screening of the travelers mandatory, before their trip to the U.S. Let’s find out more about the ESTA for Austrian citizens.
How does the ESTA for Austrian citizens work?
The ESTA was introduced in the year 1991 but was established much later in the year 2009. The primary objective of the ESTA was to streamline the entire process of visa waiver applications and applicants.
Further, it was used to provide Border Protection for the U.S Customs, and the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) the authority to pre-screen every traveler against a number of terrorist lists, criminal, and no-fly databases.
Therefore, since the year 2009, every Austrian citizen has to get an ESTA application that is approved to enter the U.S.
However, in case an Austrian citizen is found to be ineligible or denied the ESTA, then he or she would have to submit an application for the required U.S. visa.
This rule also holds for those who have plans to stay in the United States for more than 3 months or 90 days or he or she has a travel purpose that is not allowed under the rules of ESTA.
To put it in simpler terms, an Austrian citizen can only get an ESTA if it matches every criterion of it and has a trip plan less than 90 days. However, if anyone fails to prove eligibility for the ESTA, he or she can always apply for a U.S. visa.
When to apply for the ESTA?
The citizens of Austria are required to apply for ESTA online. An Austrian citizen must apply for it before boarding the vehicle to the United States. Further, the ESTA should be applied at least 3 days before the departure.
An unexpired and valid electronic passport is needed while applying for the ESTA application. Every applicant will be able to review all the requirements of the ESTA in detail.
Remember, if you have an approved ESTA application, you will not have the same rights as compared to a U.S. visa holder. The U.S. visa holders will enjoy many other benefits that an ESTA application could not offer.
However, applying for a U.S. visa is much harder. A visa applicant for the U.S. must file an application form that is much more comprehensive comparatively. That application form is called the “DS – 160.”
In addition to that, the applicant will also have to visit the U.S. embassy or consulate to attend an interview. Further, based on the kind of visa, the applicant may have to prepare some additional documents, which will be seen as his or her proof of the genuineness of the purpose and their travel plans for the U.S. trip.
All these formalities are needed before entering the United States.
How is ESTA for Austrian citizens a smart option?
The privileges that a U.S. visa holder can enjoy are indeed much higher than the holder of an ESTA, but many factors will weigh in.
For instance, if you are visiting the U.S. for a very short period of time and strictly for business purposes, you won’t need too many privileges. In such cases, the ESTA can prove to be a better option.
There are many benefits of ESTA for Austrian citizens:
- You can use the ESTA for many entries.
- You can apply for an ESTA online and the whole process is simple
- The ESTA has a validity of two years or till the expiry date of your passport, whichever is sooner
- The decisions and approvals of ESTA applications are generally soon and quick