As you know, your ESTA request, the Sesame to tread the American soil, is done online. To do this, you have the choice between the official site and dedicated sites. However, there is a controversy surrounding these sites, which seemingly rushed into a legal vacuum without the necessary authorizations. So, do we have to trust these sites or, on the contrary, only go through the accredited site to find the ESTA form?
When you go through the official website, you benefit from significant advantages to obtain your ESTA. As with all sites, whether accredited or not, you complete your application online by answering the questions asked. Then you pay the cost of the file fees. That's where the differences begin. On the official site, the fees are 14 dollars and do not vary.
The other sites will ask you between 30 euros and 80 euros for your ESTA file. Then, you will wait to get your ESTA's approval or refusal. Here again, you will notice an undeniable advantage of going through the official website. Your request is processed very quickly and you get an immediate response. While on dedicated sites, the response time can be up to 72 hours. In either case, the ESTA will be indispensable to you at the time of boarding. If you choose a non-accredited site, please allow enough time for your application.
Everything has its own backhand side. As far as the online services of the official website are concerned, this is almost primitive ergonomics. You will have access to a form in its raw state on a very unfriendly site. This is where dedicated sites are much more efficient. The input is intuitive and you benefit from efficient after-sales service.
In case of refusal, the official site does not provide any explanation. The service of dedicated sites comes into play at that time and directs you to other possibilities to obtain a right of entry on American soil. In addition, you can track your request in real time on your status. These services are offered in cash, which explains the higher price of ESTA than on the official website.
Watch out! ESTA scams exist, so you should be aware of the methods of these ill-intentioned people who can spoil your trip to the United States.