What is the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is part of the U.S. government and is involved in domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism. Created in 2002 in response to 9/11, the department manages a number of other parts of the government, including the Immigration Service, which is responsible for ESTA authorization.
What are the missions of the Department of Homeland Security?
Combining 22 federal agencies related to the security of the country, including the US Coast Guard, Customs, Border Patrol, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security has more than 170,000 employees and a budget of $30 billion.
The United States spends billions of dollars each year to protect American citizens from terrorism. The department also maintains an emergency preparedness information site.
The DHS missions are therefore varied, but it is also responsible for managing the Visa Waiver Program in the context of tourism to the United States. This process allows for a pre-screening of identity, medical and criminal history information to determine the eligibility of foreign travelers.
Obtaining ESTA through the Department of Homeland Security?
You can apply for ESTA on the DHS website. Simply fill out the form using the information on your passport. After 3 rounds of ESTA questions regarding your identity, health and criminal record, you will be asked to pay the $21 application fee. Your application will then be forwarded to DHS officials who will review your file. You will receive a positive response within 72 hours if you do not pose a risk to U.S. security measures.
The ESTA is a travel authorization that allows you to stay in the United States for up to 90 consecutive days. Valid for two years, you can use your authorization for multiple trips. Note that the ESTA is not a visa but simply a travel authorization. The decision to allow you to enter the U.S. remains in the hands of the customs officers when you arrive at the airport or port.