Do I need ESTA if I have a layover in United States?
As I asked myself this question the day before taking the plane to Lima (in Spanish), I suppose that there are many people wondering the same thing. In short, if you land in USA (either a stop-over or to stay), you need the ESTA.
No, that’s not an ESTA, that’s a Sudoku. The ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is an online application system developed by the U.S. government to pre-examine travelers before allowing them to enter the United States. Americans, who aren’t happy with making us to leave our shoes in their airports, now they control us before leaving our homes.
In our own case, our flight to Peru layaout in Miami (United States) before arriving in Lima (Peru) and we needed an ESTA. The official website recommends you apply for it 72 hours before your departure, but the reality is that some people do it at the airport before boarding and they do it on time. Although it’s better to have it in advance to speed up the boarding.
VERY IMPORTANT: you have to apply the ESTA only in the official website. Be careful with this issue because there are a lot of fake intermediary webs that they do the same process but charging you more money. The real price is 14$ (10€) and it’s valid for two years. For instance, if the United States isn’t your final destination and it’s only a place to layaout you have to indicate «On way» in your ESTA, in the section «Address while In The United States».
I take the oportunitty to remind you if you don’t want to start your trip with problems, it’s important that you respect the policies about liquids and food, sharp objects, etc. Welcome to the USA.