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Applying For An Esta

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Tilly2 | 08:09 Fri 25th Jul 2014 | How it Works
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We are going to American in the autumn. We need an Esta. When you apply on line, is it an instintaneous response which you then print off or do you have to wait for it?. We can't apply early, as we don't yet have all the details.

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As long as you have the passport you will be travelling on, you can apply now. The other details don't matter Response is usually instantaneous, but can be deferred for up to 72 hours. You don't need to print anything - but it can be useful for your own records. All there is is a reference number anyway
08:35 Fri 25th Jul 2014
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Just bumping this. Someone will know.
I often rely on Martin Lewis for advice, here's what he says on the matter

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/esta-usa-visa
As long as you have the passport you will be travelling on, you can apply now. The other details don't matter

Response is usually instantaneous, but can be deferred for up to 72 hours.

You don't need to print anything - but it can be useful for your own records. All there is is a reference number anyway
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Thank you both. I want to award two best answers.
I was astonished how quickly mine came through. It arrived within half a second of completing and submitting the online form!
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That's good to know, heathfield. Thank you.
they're good for two years, so it's worth waiting till near departure in case you want to go again in that time. It should come through more or less instantly.

Make sure you use the official site

https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html

as there are lots of unofficial ones around that will get you the Esta but charge you £££ for something you can easily do yourself for the standard fee.
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Thank you, jno. We have one which will run out before our next trip. The nice man at Virgin Airlines applied for it for us, as we didn't have one when we arrived at the airport to go to San Francisco
yes i am going next month, I did it a couple of months ago,
I needed my holiday details hotel dates etc, passport details etc and it was instant for me to print off, i also saved mine to lappy. It does say that you should print it but it would be unlikely that i would need to produce it.
I seem to remember you can do them 6 mths prior to travel.
You can do them anytime, normally immediate response, and they are valid for 2 years and cover any travel to the US in that time. There is no need to wait for "all the details" because you don't need to put in details, and you can amend the information any time eg for your next trip. I renew mine whenever it expires, and just input new information as and when needed (or not - shhhhh!)
Here is a answer: https://usaestaonline.com/en/what-is-esta Article it’s like "Get an ESTA for US travel" - moneysavingexpert.com/travel/esta-usa-visa , but more up to date and comprehensive. It also includes infographic!

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Applying For An Esta

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