Helpful ESTA Facts and Tips for Finnish Citizens
People who live in visa waiver countries can apply for travel authorization to the United States. If you want to travel to the US as a Finnish passport holder, you can do so easily as you apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA visa waiver. The ESTA allows Finnish citizens to visit the US for business, tourism, medical, transit, and short-study purposes without any visa until a maximum of 90 days per visit. It was in the year 1991 when Finland became a part of the countries listed in the Visa Waiver Program. Nevertheless, pre-screening of travelers is vital before they arrive to the United States for security reasons like addressing terrorism threats.
In the year 2009, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization was established for streamlining of processing of visa waiver applicants. It was also created for the Department of Homeland Security and the US Customs and Border Protection to pre-screen travelers from their criminal, no-fly, and terrorist list databases. Therefore, beginning 2009, citizens from Finland are only allowed entry to the US if they obtain an approval from their ESTA application. Unfortunately, applying for a US visa may be necessary if the Finnish citizen is ineligible for or denied ESTA approval, intend to travel for purposes not allowed by the ESTA, or plan to visit the US for over 90 days.
For Finnish citizens to get ESTA approval, you need to apply for it online. Before boarding a sea vessel or flying by air to the US, you need an ESTA, and you should apply for it about 72 hours before departure. To apply for ESTA online, you need to provide a valid electronic passport that is not expired. Before ESTA application, carefully review every detail and requirements of the ESTA. For more FAQs about the ESTA, take the time to check their official websites.
As a Finnish citizen, after getting ESTA application approval, you still don’t have the same level of rights as holders of US visas. When it comes to US visa applicants, they need to submit a more comprehensive application form called the DS-160. Also, they still need to attend an interview at the US embassy or consulate. They may also need to present additional documents to prove how genuine their purposes are for traveling to the US before they gain entry for the type of visa they apply for.
When you apply for ESTA, make sure that you submit it at about 72 hours before you travel to the US. When your ESTA application is rejected, you have the option to apply for either B1 Business Visa or a B2 Tourist Visa. Your ESTA approval may be revoked at any time, though. Moreover, you may still not enter the US even if your ESTA is approved.