Applying for ESTA Visa Waivers for Finnish Passport Holders
Traveling to the US is made possible and much simpler for passport holders belonging to visa waiver countries declared by the United States. When you are a Finnish citizen and you want to travel to the US, you can now apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA visa waiver conveniently. 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. Even so, like other countries and travelers, Finnish citizens still need to undergo pre-screening before they arrive to the United States for security purposes and prevention of terrorism threats.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization was created in the year 2009 to streamline the process of screening visa waiver applications. 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. So, since the year 2009, citizens from Finland need to get an approved ESTA application first before they can enter the US. If a Finnish citizen, however, is ineligible for ESTA or denied it, wishes to visit the US beyond 90 days, or want to travel for purposes not stated by the ESTA, they may have to apply for the most applicable US visa for their case.
If you want to get ESTA approval as a citizen of Finland, you need to complete an online application. You need ESTA before you can board a sea vessel or air to the United States, and make sure that you apply it for about 72 hours before departing. You need to provide a valid electronic passport that is not expired for your ESTA application. Make sure that you review the requirements of the ESTA before you apply for it. For more information, you can visit the official website of the ESTA for FAQs.
Once you get approval for your ESTA application as a Finnish citizen, you should know that your rights are not the same as the US visa holder. 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. Before going to the country, applicants may have to provide additional documents required from them to prove their genuineness for their travel purposes and plans depending on their visa type application.
Before you travel to the US, at least 72 hours before departure, you must make sure to submit your ESTA application. If your ESTA is denied, you can still apply for a B1 Business Visa or a B2 Tourist Visa. Your ESTA approval may be revoked at any time, though. Furthermore, getting approval for your ESTA is no guarantee for admission to the US.