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Panicking about ESTA

(17 Posts)
ImportantWater Mon 16-Sep-19 19:11:07

I'm off to a training course in the US on Wednesday, flying 10.30am. My tickets were booked by the trainer and at the time I checked whether I needed a visa or qualified for visa waiver, and was told visa waiver was fine. I didn't realise you had to complete the waiver 72 hours in advance - I have just done it and it says my application is pending, and I am panicking I will not get it before I travel. I think it could be because I am going to do journalism training which may have rung some bells. If it doesn't arrive in time will I not be allowed to board the flight? Is there anything else I should do? I haven't travelled to the US (or anywhere) for years and back then you just filled in a form on the plane.

OP’s posts: |
didireallysaythat Mon 16-Sep-19 19:24:17

Maybe check back on the website now - I can't remember if it was a renewal or my first one but I remember the same "we'll get back to you when..." message and when I checked it was already in place. Can't guarantee it will the case for you but if it is ...

kshaw Mon 16-Sep-19 19:25:23

Mine three weeks ago cleared in about 6 hours

WickedGoodDoge Mon 16-Sep-19 19:26:40

Check the site tomorrow morning. There’s quite often a delay of a few hours before it goes through. If it still hasn’t cleared, keep checking.

ImportantWater Mon 16-Sep-19 19:29:37

I'm wondering whether I should fill it in again and put my hotel as my point of contact instead of the university. It says if you have made a mistake you can do it again. Am happy to pay anther $14 for peace of mind! On the other hand then it might look like I am trying to hide something!

OP’s posts: |
LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Mon 16-Sep-19 19:31:10

It’s a fast turnaround a the first time it was just a couple of hours and the next time it was about a day. Unless you said ‘yes’ to the question about having a criminal record or have intentions to overthrow the US government...

ImportantWater Mon 16-Sep-19 19:32:56

No...but I did say my point of contact was the journalism school - it is only for a week and I definitely don't need a visa but there wasn't anywhere to say that! If I fill it in again I can just not mention the journalism school and put the hotel...

OP’s posts: |
Expressedways Mon 16-Sep-19 19:33:04

I to do them at work quite a lot (applying on behalf of our department), and my DMother had the same panic- it’s completely normal that it doesn’t approve immediately and I’ve never known one take more than 24 hours. ESTAs are fine for business trips so I doubt anything you’ve put in the application will have triggered something. Unless you’re going on a private plane (that requires a visa), I’m sure you’ll be fine! In theory you can be denied boarding but I really, really doubt that will happen.

PatriciaHolm Mon 16-Sep-19 19:34:34

All you can do is cross your fingers basically - no, without it you can't fly i'm afraid. The journalism may well be the issue I'm afraid - technically the ESTA cannot be used if you intend to work as press/as a journalist; obviously you are training rather than working, but it probably means the application has gone for manual approval rather than automatic, which delays things.

ImportantWater Mon 16-Sep-19 19:35:47

Oh phew - it has been approved1 thank you all for being here during my fifteen minutes of utter panic, you are all great!

OP’s posts: |
PatriciaHolm Mon 16-Sep-19 19:40:43

ha! Jolly good. Last visa I applied for came through about midnight the night before I flew. So I get the stress ;-)

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Mon 16-Sep-19 19:44:23

Phew! Have a great trip! Where are you off to (nosey)?

ImportantWater Mon 16-Sep-19 19:46:21

Columbia University! V excited. Just for a week.

OP’s posts: |
terriblyangryattimes Mon 16-Sep-19 19:49:49

Was about to day mine was accepted in under 12 hours 2 weeks ago- glad you are approved!

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Mon 16-Sep-19 19:59:29

New York! You lucky thing!!

didireallysaythat Mon 16-Sep-19 22:16:28

I've done my ETSA form at Heathrow. Can't recommend it.....

tanstaafl Mon 16-Sep-19 22:37:21

Don’t worry too much about the Location part of the ESTA, we’ve put ‘unknown’ in for those fields in the past (applying for the ESTA before booking flights and accommodation) and still got past customs no problem.

We’ve flown into Boston recently - they’re trialling the automatic custom machines like we have in the UK - though we had to queue briefly at the manual check after.

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