ESTA does not qualify for a Visa
ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), is sometimes mistaken for a U.S. visitor’s visa. This is false. ESTA is not a visa. It is a travel authorization.
There is a difference between ESTA visa and U.S. visa.
1. ESTA is not available to Visa Waiver travelers and is not related to “travel authorization”.
2. Any other visitor who is not under the Visa Waiver Program must obtain a U.S. visitor’s visa.
ESTA allows Visa Waiver travelers to apply online for travel authorizations. A travel authorization approved is a requirement for Visa Waiver travelers to enter the U.S. by air or sea. It was introduced January 12, 2009. An approved authorization does however not guarantee entry to the U.S. borders.
A U.S. visitor visa can be either a B-1 Business Visa, or a B-2 Tourist Visa. Visas cannot be obtained from abroad. The visitor must apply in person at an American embassy or consulate. There are additional costs and steps involved in the visa process, which is more expensive than the ESTA. Passengers can also expect to complete I-94W (the yellow form) for the moment. Eventually, Form I-94W will be replaced by ESTA.