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Difference between ESTA & Visa

Although ESTA is often, referred to as a visa, it is not a visa. ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization to travel to the United States of America, and 39 countries are eligible for this Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Only citizens of these 39 countries can apply for ESTA USA. But if anyone wonders that ESTA is the same as a Visa, the simplest answer is ‘’NO”.

Difference between ESTA & Visa:

  • The basic difference between ESTA, USA and the US Visa is that ESTA can be obtained via an online form, but for the US tourist visa one requires to contact the US consulate or embassy. ESTA was introduced in 2009, only for the countries include in VWP.
  • A successful ESTA application means that the applicant has granted authorization to travel the US usually for two years. The duration of each visit to the US should not be longer than 90 days. ESTA also grants multiple entries to its holder to enter the US. It is usually valid for two years unless your passport expires within two years. In case of a passport, the expiry visitor must need to apply for a new ESTA with a renewed passport because the older ESTA does not remain valid anymore.
  • Another difference between ESTA and Visa is that the application for ESTA gets processed electronically, while an immigrant official can grant Visa.
  • Applying for a visit visa is a long hectic process that includes a proper interview at a consulate or embassy. Many of the documentation proofs are required to clarify the intentions of the traveler that he/she will surely return to his/her country. After going through a one to one interview at a local embassy or consulate an application may get their Visa while it is so easy to apply for ESTA right to your home just filling the online application form.
  • It is not possible to renew the US visa through an online application, but renewing ESTA is so easy and travelers can get renew ESTA online.
  • For ESTA an applicant has to provide their valid e-passport, personal details, and passport information and has to pay the ESTA fee with a credit or debit card. For the US visitor visa, an applicant needs to meet the requirements such as a complete DS 160 application form, a valid passport having the validity of at least six months beyond the US stay, and a paid visa receipt.
  • In addition to the above-mentioned documents, some additional documents are also required for visa applications like birth certificate, voting card, proof education, employment, economic proofs, etc.

Obtaining an ESTA is a much easier and relaxing process and you can get ESTA in minutes, whereas getting a travel visa may take several days.


For German nationals and citizens, has designed a simple three steps procedure for ESTA authorization for the US within a few minutes. An applicant has to enter his/her data that goes through a rechecking and correcting process, and after paying their ESTA fee they can receive ESTA approval email. is your companion for this ideal alternative to a US visa.

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