In 1999, Portugal became a member of the Visa Waiver Program and as a result, citizens of Portugal are entitled to apply for an ESTA when they wish to visit the US. This is a much easier and straightforward process than applying for a US VISA FOR PORTUGUESE CITIZENS.
ESTA Requirements and Important Information
- ESTA applicant must have a valid biometric passport
- Can only be used for visits to the US of up to 90 days maximum
- The same ESTA may be used for multiple visits whilst valid
- Children are required to have their own ESTA
- Travel authorisation is required when visiting US by air or by sea
- Remains valid for up to 2 years
Benefits of Applying for ESTA for Portuguese Citizens
As members of the Visa Waiver Program, citizens from Portugal can benefit from the much simpler process of applying for an ESTA instead of applying for the US Visa. Additional benefits include a much faster processing time, as the ESTA is normally approved within 24 hours. It can take considerably longer than this if there are any system issues, so it is advisable to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before planning to travel to the US.
The ESTA application form is very short, especially when compared to the longer application form related to the US Visa application. The fee that you must pay for the application is also cheaper for an ESTA than it is for the US Visa, which is another key benefit.
The entire ESTA application process is completed digitally, with no requirement to attend an interview in person at the US embassy, which is the case when applying for a US Visa.
How Portuguese Citizens Can Apply for ESTA
Provided that Portuguese citizens have a biometric passport, a valid email address and a card to make the transaction fee with, they are eligible to apply for the ESTA and all of the benefits that this entails. Citizens of Portugal can visit the ESTA application website and fill in the required details. The form is very short to complete, often taking around 10 minutes to fill in everything.
The applicant will be required to provide their passport details, personal details such as name address, date of birth and medical history. There is also a section related to criminal convictions and recent travel history related to certain countries. Once all of the details have been completed, the applicant should check over all the details they have provided to ensure they are correct, make the application fee payment and submit their application.
The US Department of Homeland Security will then screen the applicant to determine whether they are happy to approve the application.
What to do if ESTA is Declined
In the event that an ESTA gets declined, it is possible to send another application if the details provided in the previous application were incorrect. However, if the ESTA application has been declined and all the details provided were correct, then the only other option is to apply for a BUSINESS VISA FOR US. This can be done by completing a DS 160 form and arranging an interview at the US Embassy.
US Embassy Address in Portugal
U.S. Embassy Lisbon
Avenida das Forças Armadas
Benefits of ESTA for Portuguese Citizens:
- Application is fast to process
- Visit US for business, tourism, medical or transit
- Can be used multiple times
- Use for trips to US up to 90 days long
- Form is very short to fill in
- Everything is processed digitally
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