Things You Should Know Before You Fly To The US, Including ESTA Application
USA is a highly popular travel destination, most likely the most popular one in the entire world. However, it is not as easy as you might think to enter the country. You need to be aware of various things if you decide to fly to the US, including everything written below, and more.
The Easiest Option
If you are a citizen of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program, you are eligible for ESTA entry into the country. This means you need to go through the ESTA application process and receive an official response from the authorities. You cannot depart on a flight to the US if this authorization is not in place. If not eligible for ESTA, you need to get a visa.
Check Passport Validity
In most cases you need to be sure you have a minimum passport validity of six months. However, if you intend to stay for a shorter time, you can enter, as long as validity covers the desired time of stay. It is important to check the government website for the country of your residence in order to understand exactly what rules have to be respected.
Your Visa Situation
As already mentioned you can take advantage of the ESTA USA option if you are a resident from a country covered by the Visa Waiver Program. Different requirements are in place, like having an e-passport, being approved, visiting for pleasure, business or for transit purposes. Travel approval is needed at least 72 hours before you will fly.
Get A TSA-Approved Lock
Locking luggage as you travel is a really good idea as this increases the possibility that your belongings are going to be safe. However, whenever traveling Stateside, strict outlines are in place for baggage security and safety. The TSA (Transport Security Administration) sets all guidelines. Checked bags will be screened. In the event that TSA inspectors think the bag has to be inspected, they can break a lock. If you use the TSA-approved lock, a master key the TSA official has can use it so your lock is not broken.
Know Rules About US Transit
When on an international flight that will transit the country, US customs have to be cleared. In a technical sense, transit does not exist in the US. You need to disembark and then move through customs and immigration. This basically means that you need to fulfill requirements, which is needed even if you just stay for 2 hours as you are between international flights. Luggage is also checked.
Although you might be connected to a US flight that is domestic, you have to keep in mind the fact about clearing immigration and customs. Be sure that you have around 3 hours between the flights since this will allow you to go through all that might happen at the airport.
Be sure that you are prepared for anything and do your research. All the information that you need in order to plan a safe trip is available on the internet.