The Best of the ESTA and the VWP
Travelling to the US is an interesting prospect for many. There is the allure of its busy streets and the color and sparkle of its lights at night. If there is one deterrent however, that is the required travel visa. The visa application process for the US is said to be one of the most demanding visa applications known in the world. It requires more paperwork and applicants are required to appear at a US embassy or consulate for an interview.
In an effort to counter the restraints posed by a travel visa, the United States started to offer a more flexible and convenient alternative around the late 1980s. This program, called the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), is an agreement between the US government and the governments of particular countries to allow their nationals to travel to the US even without a visa.
In place of a visa, visitors only need to secure the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The ESTA is administered by the US Department of Homeland Security as a way to screen the eligibility of applications for visa exemption eligibility. It is also a mechanism for the US to promote safe and legal travel of foreigners to the US and safeguard against security and terrorist threats.