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Is the ESTA Visa Waiver Program Affected by COVID -19?

Is the ESTA Visa Waiver Program Affected by COVID -19?

The current global pandemic continues to have a massive impact on the world, not just in the United States. This is no new news for the visitors who already have an ESTA. The coronavirus impact on ESTA is quite significant, with renewed expectations for the visitors’ safety and the residents of the US.

How Far has the COVID-19 Virus Spread? 

Presently, there are more coronavirus cases in the United States than there are anywhere else in the world. By December 2020, there were a reported number of 18,236,598 infection cases across the United States.

Unfortunately, a staggering 322,832 people have succumbed to the virus within this period. During that same month, a record number of about 3,000 new cases were reported on the same day.

ESTA Applications and Approvals 

Luckily, ESTA applications can still be submitted even as the disease continues to toll on the country. The processing period hasn’t changed either, so that you can expect the same level of feedback. The good thing about an ESTA authorization is that it can last you up to 2 years.

This is done to cater to those who have not yet set a date for their visit. As for now, there are still numerous applications being processed for authorization. If you find that you may have to travel to the US soon, there is still time to make your application. Feel free to look at this introduction guide to ESTA for more information on what to expect.  

Is it Possible to Still Use ESTA for USA Visits Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic? 

As mentioned earlier, your ESTA permit will still be valid for about two years after getting approved. However, if your passport goes past its expiration date, you will need to apply for a new permit after renewing your passport.

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COVID-19 hasn’t altered this policy at all. The US government has also imposed travel bans on some countries, so having a valid ESTA won’t guarantee you entry to the US. This is in line with the measures put together to aid in curbing the spread of the virus.

Restricted Entry to the United States

 At the moment, the Jon Biden administration does not discriminate against people from other nationalities. However, it may exclude travelers, depending on their travel background. Travelers with an ESTA could be barred from traveling to the United States because of the ongoing pandemic.

A travel ban has been put in place as a short-term measure to address the COVID-19 crisis. With the implementation of the travel ban, there is concern about those coming to the United States from other nations with high coronavirus cases. 

Can an ESTA Permit be Revoked? 

Your ESTA permit can be revoked if the US immigration department discovers that you might be disregarding the travel ban conditions. If you turn it around and adhere to the ban, then you can be allowed to reapply for the permit once more.

It is also possible to have your permit revoked by accident. This is especially the case whenever an airline wrongfully states that you might have been to the countries that the US has issued a travel ban within the past two weeks. 

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